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Friday 20 October 2017

Van Gaal has young guns fired up for US

Louis van Gaal has given a number of young and fringe players the chance to prove themselves in his first Manchester United squad.

Twenty-five players accompanied the new boss on Friday's flight to the USA for their pre-season tour.

Youth-team products Sam Johnstone, Tyler Blackett, Michael Keane, Reece James, Jesse Lingard and Will Keane all made the cut, but there was no room for James Wilson and Tom Lawrence, who made their first-term debuts at the end of last season, or Nick Powell.

United had announced earlier this month that stars like Wayne Rooney, David De Gea and Juan Mata would travel to the US along with new signings Luke Shaw, left, and Ander Herrera.

Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj are still on holiday after the World Cup.

Michael Carrick is a notable absentee after undergoing ankle surgery on Thursday that could rule him out for the first two months of the season.

In his first press conference later in the day, van Gaal said he would spend the next three or four weeks assessing the players he has at his disposal before deciding on potential new signings and departures.

United will play their first match of the tour against the Los Angeles Galaxy next Thursday before taking on Roma, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup.

If they make the final, they will play a fifth match in Miami on August 4.

The tour will be a big chance for the likes of Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Shinji Kagawa and Nani, to prove they deserve a future at Old Trafford.

The fate of Anderson and Bebe already appears to be sealed, though, after they were left out along with left-back Patrice Evra, who is expected to join Juventus.

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will hope to stake their claims to be first-choice centre-backs following the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Spanish midfielder Herrera, who joined United from Athletic Bilbao last month, is looking forward to the tour. He told MUTV: "It will be my first time outside Europe.

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