The third and final part of our Scout Notes from the weekend’s pre-season matches looks at how Manchester United, Everton and Newcastle United fared – although the key takeaways for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers were less about the action on the pitch.
You can read our other two warm-up game summaries from Friday and Saturday below.
DERBY COUNTY 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
- Goals: Tahith Chong, Facundo Pellistri
- Assists: Shola Shoretire
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Sunday that no decision had yet been made on whether Marcus Rashford (£9.5m) would undergo surgery on his troublesome shoulder, despite media reports suggesting the England winger was set to have an operation that would rule him out until October.
Rashford is one of a cluster of United players who have yet to report back for pre-season duty, with the Red Devils’ international contingent still on belated breaks following their involvement at EURO 2020 and the Copa America.
Solskjaer said of Rashford’s situation:
No, we’re looking at the best options. Of course, he went away just to reflect on it a little bit. We have to take the best course of action for him and the club. We’re still addressing that with the experts.
The Norwegian wouldn’t be short of options should Rashford need time on the sidelines, with Anthony Martial (£8.0m), Daniel James (£6.0m), Paul Pogba (£7.5m) and incoming signing Jadon Sancho all having spent time out wide on the left flank either for United or other clubs.
Mason Greenwood (£7.5m) may be tentatively awaiting Sancho’s arrival given the direct threat for his place on the opposite wing.
He was one of just two regular starters from 2020/21 – the other being Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£5.5m) – who featured in Sunday’s pre-season friendly against Derby.
Greenwood was initially stationed up top in a quiet 45-minute showing against the Rams but drifted wider as the first half went on.
Also involved was Jesse Lingard (£7.0m), whose successful loan spell at West Ham United earlier this calendar year hasn’t so far led to a permanent move away from Old Trafford.
Solskjaer, perhaps prudently given that transfer fees would be involved in any sale, said he expected Lingard to still be at Old Trafford come Gameweek 1:
Jesse has come back, he’s been bright and he wants to fight for his place. There’s nothing better than seeing players willing to fight for their place.
Of course, what he did towards the end of the season, that is the true Jesse. That’s what we know he is capable of.
I think we saw towards the end [of our own season] that we lacked maybe some options at times. He’s still in my plans. I expect him at Man Utd at the start of the season.
James and Scott McTominay (£5.5m) are the only additional first-teamers who have so far returned to training ahead of United’s next friendly at QPR on Saturday, with the likes of Bruno Fernandes (£12.0m) and Luke Shaw (£5.5m) still on a leave of absence.
Manchester United XI: Heaton (Grant 46), Wan-Bissaka (Galbraith 46), Tuanzebe (Fish 61), Mengi (Bernard 61), Williams (Telles 46), Garner (Matic 46), Levitt (Andreas 46), Chong (Pellistri 46), Mata (Lingard 46), Elanga (Shoretire 46), Greenwood (Hugill 46, Hannibal 79).
EVERTON 1-0 BLACKBURN ROVERS
- Goal: Jean-Philippe Gbamin
- Assist: Moise Kean
Rafael Benitez had positive news about Lucas Digne‘s (£5.5m) fitness after seeing his new Everton side defeat Blackburn Rovers in a training ground friendly at the weekend.
Digne is still on a break after representing France at the European Championship but the left-back also suffered a thigh injury at this summer’s tournament and there had been some initial concern about the possible length of absence.
But facing the media, Benitez suggested the French defender was “nearly ready”:
I had contact with him [on Wednesday morning], he is training well, doing his job and ready to join the team as soon as possible. He is a great professional and I know he is working hard. My exchange of messages with him has been good because he is telling me he is nearly ready.
The former Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea boss also commented on Richarlison (£7.5m), who has gone straight from Copa America duties with Brazil to representing his country at the Olympic Games – and is a doubt for Gameweek 1 as a result.
I was in contact with him, he had the Olympic Games in the back of his head, we needed to sort out his situation and he is fine. He is happy because he can go there… and he knows he has to give us something back because we were supporting him.
That [not being involved at start of season] could be something we can consider not great in the beginning but will be a massive boost for us in the rest of the season because he will try to deliver.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin was Everton’s goalscorer in the narrow win over Rovers, pouncing on the loose ball after Moise Kean had seen a shot parried away.
James Rodriguez (£7.0m) also featured for the Toffees in this ‘unofficial’ friendly, with formation details thin on the ground – although footage and the line-up information seemed to suggest Benitez had gone with four at the back rather than the wing-back system he favoured towards the end of his tenure with Newcastle.
Everton first-half XI: Virginia, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, John, Iwobi, Gbamin, Gomes, Gordon, Rodriguez, Kean.
Everton second-half XI: Tyrer, Kenny, Gibson, Godfrey, Coleman, Baningime, Allan, Doucoure, Davies, Delph, Whitaker (Broadhead, 83).
YORK CITY 1-0 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Injury and illness deprived Newcastle United of four goalkeepers as they opened their pre-season campaign in York.
The Magpies had initially planned to split their squad across two friendlies on Sunday, the other being at Harrogate Town, but instead sent all of their first team to the York Community Stadium after a COVID outbreak in the goalkeeping department.
Already without the injured Martin Dubravka (£4.5m), who is a doubt for Gameweek 1, Steve Bruce had to make do without Karl Darlow (£4.5m), Mark Gillespie and Freddie Woodman after the former tested positive for coronavirus and the other two were identified as close contacts.
Bruce stuck with the same 5-3-2/3-5-2 system that he ended the season with.
Callum Wilson (£7.5m) and the newly recategorised Allan Saint-Maximin (£6.5m) both spent time up front as one of the two central strikers, while Jacob Murphy (£5.0m) and Matt Ritchie (£5.0m) were again deployed at wing-back.
Saint-Maximin, Ritchie and early substitute Dwight Gayle (£5.5m) all spurned good chances before the visitors succumbed to a late headed winner.
Joelinton (£6.0m) limped off after 18 minutes and Jonjo Shelvey (£5.5m) was absent altogether, with Bruce offering an update after full-time:
Jonjo hurt himself before pre-season doing running on his own. He hurt his calf, so he’ll not be around for a while just yet.
Joelinton wanted to carry on, which tells me that it’s not that serious, but it’s obviously a concern. We’ll not know until we scan him, and give the results out in the next couple of days.
Newcastle United XI: Langley, Murphy, Fernandez (Dummett 69), Lascelles (Lewis 46), Watts, Ritchie, Hayden, Hendrick (M Longstaff 60), Fraser (S.Longstaff 60), Joelinton (Gayle 18, Muto 80), Wilson (Saint-Maximin 46).
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