Greenwood and Chong start as Solskjaer names Red Devils’ youngest European starting XI since 2012

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As expected, Manchester United are not playing their strongest team for their Europa League opener tonight.

The Red Devils face Kazakh side Astana at Old Trafford and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given a number of their young players a chance to shine.

Solskjaer is showing faith in United’s young players against Astana

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Solskjaer is showing faith in United’s young players against Astana

Mason Greenwood, Axel Tuanzebe, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes have been given the nod and this has led to United’s line-up becoming somewhat historic.

According to Opta, the average age of United’s starting XI is 24 years and 145 days, which is their youngest line-up in a Europa League/Champions League game since December 2012.

That was a Champions League group stage match against CFR Cluj, where the United XI’s average age was 24 years and 54 days.

Manchester United XI: Romero, Dalot, Jones, Tuanzebe, Rojo, Matic, Fred, Chong, Gomes, Greenwood, Rashford

There’s particular excitement about forward Greenwood, 17, who put in some impressive performances during pre-season.

And Solskjaer urged Greenwood to go out and enjoy himself.

The Norwegian said before the game: “He is still very young, Mason, but he’s maturing. He’s developed so much in the last six months since I came in.

Greenwood has made some appearances as a substitute this season

Getty Images – Getty

Greenwood has made some appearances as a substitute this season

“I remember the kid who just wanted to play with mates in the Under-18s. And now he’s knocking on a door, he’s ready to play these games.

“For me, he has been in the Under-21s with England, he’s tasting it more and more. And his appetite for football must be growing.

“I just don’t want to put too much pressure on him, apart from, ‘go out there and enjoy yourself’.

“Work hard, close down, because when the ball lands in your feet I know you’re going to score anyway.


“I know you’ll make the right finish. The keeper might make a fantastic save but he’s one of the best finishers I’ve seen.

“It’s just that enjoyment, express yourself, go out at Old Trafford because there will be 11 Astana players living the dream tomorrow.

“It must be one of the biggest games of their careers for some of these players, but I want it to be a memorable one for our players as well and Mason is one of them.”





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