herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

United stars playing for their future in LA

A new era will begin in the early hours of tomorrow morning when Louis van Gaal takes to the dugout as Manchester United manager for the first time.

A crowd of over 70,0000 will pack into the Pasadena Rose Bowl to watch Van Gaal's United take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The match may be taking place over 5,0000 miles from Manchester, and it may start at 3.30am, but United fans will closely watch every move Van Gaal makes.

Several hints about how Van Gaal's plan for United will be gleaned from the friendly, which is the opening encounter in a two-and-a-half-week long tour that takes in Denver, Washington DC and Detroit.

The Dutchman has been using a 4-3-3 formation in training this week and it will be interesting to see if he adopts the same tactics against the Galaxy. Whatever system he selects, the players on show will be keen to impress their new manager.

This tour is effectively an audition for the players. If they needed a reminder they are playing for their futures, then Ed Woodward delivered it in an MUTV interview at the weekend when he said there would be incomings and outgoings.

Fringe players like Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Ashley Young, Nani and Wilfried Zaha will be under the spotlight most.

Great things were expected of Zaha when he arrived at United last summer following his £15million move from Crystal Palace, but he soon fell out of favour with David Moyes and was loaned to Crystal Palace.

The England international is one of many players hoping to make an impression on Van Gaal.

"It's great to be back," Zaha saidd. "There's a nice vibe, everybody's working hard and we're looking forward to the new season."

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