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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Manchester United players begin life under Jose Mourinho with much to prove

Manchester United's new manager made great play of the way he has promoted youth from academies "because of conviction and desire"

By: Reuters | Updated: July 7, 2016 3:11:09 am
Jose Mourinho, Jose Mourinho news, Jose Mourinho updates, Jose Mourinho coach, Jose Mourinho Manchester United, sports news, sports, football news, Football Jose Mourinho is a known admirer of full back Luke Shaw. (Source: Reuters)

Competition for places in those games will be particularly fierce with perhaps only goalkeeper David de Gea, defender Chris Smalling and forward Anthony Martial approaching the new regime with real confidence.

Change is gathering pace at the club once famed for its stability under Alex Ferguson. The signing of wily midfielder Henrikh Mkhityaran on Wednesday — the third arrival following defender Eric Bailly and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic — will probably consign Michael Carrick to the bench while Juan Mata, who Mourinho sold to  United from Chelsea because he was too slow, appears on his way out, possibly to Everton.

Whether Paul Pogba comes in from Juventus remains to be seen, but Mourinho was clear he has one more piece of business to do.

“We decided four targets,” the Portuguese said. “From that target we have three. Until we don’t have the fourth, we are still working hard.”

Mourinho is a known admirer of full back Luke Shaw, who needs to proved he has retained his sharpness after last season’s double leg break, but up front Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney know they face a fight to play alongside Ibrahimovic.

On Tuesday United’s new manager made great play of the way he has promoted youth from academies “because of conviction and desire” but few believe he would have given the 18-year-old Rashford the sort of chance that led to his phenomenal rise under Van Gaal last season.

Although history suggests Mourinho will have to give youth more of a chance at a club famed for the Busby Babes and Class of ’92, he will still expect Rashford to hit the ground running and, most importantly, scoring.

Rooney, too, is back to being judged on his strike rate after Mourinho made clear he viewed him as a player providing the goal threat rather than the sort of midfield role he was recently asked to play for the national team.

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