This summer is the summer of promise.
Following a turbulent and dissapointing end to the season, promise of change is something that has been made clear to all United fans. From the way decisions are made to the infrastructure at Old Trafford, the big wigs at United have made a pledge to change the direction opf the club. Many believe that implies, a huge summer transfer window.
However, in the background of a pivotal Manchester United summer is the small matter of the European Championships. And in that is the chance to see an array of Reds defending their respective countries’ colours.
Which Manchester United Players will Participate?
United have four English representatives at Euro 2020; Dean Henderson, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford.Embed from Getty Images
After a season battling it out with David de Gea for the No.1 spot at Old Trafford, Henderson will be hoping to compete with Jordan Pickford for a place between the sticks. Luke Shaw’s re-selection is a testament to his outstanding season in Red. The season that saw him make the PFA Premier League team of the year will also see him be involved in his first international tournament since he last made the team in 2014. Funny how life works out sometimes.
Maguire missed the Europa League final, United’s biggest game of the season with an ankle injury. However, his inclusion in England’s Euro’s squad is a testimony to his fine leadership qualities that Gareth Southgate just couldn’t go without. Rashford has also had his injury concerns this season, and a few months off away from any rigorous competition could have done him some good. But as per the 23-year-old’s character, he’s with the squad.
Paul Pogba is United’s only Frenchman in the competition after Anthony Martial’s injury ruleld him out of selection.Embed from Getty Images
Pogba’s France side are definitely one of the favourites for the competition. Not only is their side packed with immense talent and characters, but they also come into the competition as simply the World Champions and finalists in the last Euros, nothing too crazy. There is a strong expectation that Les Bleus will find themselves in at least the final four. However, Group F is the group of death, including both Germany and Portugal.
PortugalEmbed from Getty Images
The Red devils’ very own Portuguese Magnifico will don the red of Portugal this summer.
Alongside ex-Red Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s hard to look past Bruno Fernandes’ Portugal as one of the real favourites for the competition. As the holders, it makes their grouping with France even tastier. The notable thing about Portugal is their outstanding strength in depth all over the pitch. It would not be a surprise to see Portugal retain their title.
United’s very own Scott McTominay is in the Scotland squad for the Euros. Despite being born in England, his family ties make him eligible for the Tartan army. Scotland find themselves in Group D and will face England. If he’s in the lineup Mctominay could find himself against a couple of his United teammates.
SpainEmbed from Getty Images
David de Gea’s last major tournament was one to forget for both Spain and De Gea alike. However, World Cup 2018 is one that United fans definitely haven’t forgotten. The Spanish goalkeeper just hasn’t been the one we saw in the five years prior. You might even argue that his status as Spain’s number one has been under threat ever since with Unai Simon of Athletic Bilbao getting the nod over him in recent games. Whether he is the number one or not, Spain will definitely benefit from a focussed De Gea. It’s just a question of whether you can get him back.
De Gea will likely meet his club teammate and good friend Victor Lindelof who will represent Sweden in group E. Lindelof has always been a top performer for his country, his 2018 World Cup display was a positive one, taking Sweden to the quarterfinals of that competition. Swedes would have hoped to have the godly presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he was set to return to the international scene. Ibrahimovic’s injury means he could not be selected.
There could’ve been a strong United contingent involved with the Wales national team but unfortunately for reasons most people are aware of, that wasn’t possible. However, Daniel James and U23s midfielder Dylan Levitt are both involved. Dylan Levitt will be an interesting one to look at during ther Euros. The 20-year-old was on loan in Ukraine last season following an unsuccessful spell at Charlton where he wasn’t used. In the Wales side, he’s given greater responsibility, recently starting against France in a friendly. Expect Daniel James to be a key man for Wales, especially with Gareth Bale’s powers waning, they will need quality from elsewhere to progress.
Key Players to Keep an Eye on
United have been and will continue to be linked to every player under the sun. So, because of that here are the three players to look out for (avoiding the more obvious names is the goal):
Pau Torres:Embed from Getty Images
The pain of the Europa League final may have blurred the analytical eye of many fans. Pau Torres walked away with a Europa League winners medal and will be hoping to do the same with Spain. One of the biggest comments made about Pau was the fact that Unai Emery’s conservative system meant he couldn’t really be assessed as a sole defender. In that case, watch him during the Euros. Luis Enrique’s footballing philosophy differs greatly from Emery’s so expect him to be tested more.
Declan Rice:Embed from Getty Images
Declan Rice’s price tag has been some cause for concern among United fans that would value his services at Old Trafford. Figures quoted at around £90-100m just reek of the English player tax that United have fell victim to before. The price tag is a frustrating one as while Rice has performed amicably for West Ham, he is still yet to perform on a stage that merits such a price tag. Therefore, if the holding-midfielder can cut the mustard at the Euros, fans and the United hierarchy alike may just see the price as justifiable
Andre Silva:Embed from Getty Images
While the links to Andre Silva have been tentative and few and far between if Solskjaer wants a strike Silva is one to keep an eye on. He’s coming into the competition off the back of a successful Bundesliga season scoring 28 and assisting an additional eight in 32 games. Insane numbers. He may not even start for Portugal, but what a player to have to rotate. If he can continue his goalscoring form there is no reason why he shouldn’t be looked at further as no.9 for United.
The main question is; Will a Manchester United player win the competition? While anything can happen, there is a strong possibility a United player will get a winners medal. Who that or they will be is a more difficult question. England Portugal and France obviously have their strengths but I’ve been so impressed with Portugal. Their strength in depth is almost emotionally good. I expect Bruno Fernandes to win the Euros.