SINGAPORE - With Louis van Gaal snatching one of the world’s best strikers, Neil Humphreys takes a guess at Manchester United’s starting 11. And the 3-4-1-2 will have to give way to the 4-3-3 the coach often used with Holland if he’s going to get the best out of this bunch.
DAVID DE GEA
Quite possibly the only United player who's place in the starting line-up - and his actual position - is guaranteed.
RAFAEL DA SILVA
When he returns from his groin injury, the Brazilian's pace should win over his manager.
Unless Tyler Blackett improves quickly, Jones is likely to be the only survivor from the current defence (but his long-term future is by no means assured).
Once his work visa issues are settled, the Argentine centre back slots straight into the dodgy defence. LUKE SHAW The 19-year-old should make the left-back position his own this season.
According to media reports, the Spaniard has settled quickly in Manchester, finding a home and enjoying the city. Once he finds his feet, he will enjoy his football.
Like Herrera, the Dutchman must work his socks off as a defensive midfielder to accommodate Rooney's free role.
Playing at the head of a midfield trio, Rooney will finally utilise his underrated passing ability and justify his tendency to drop deeper to collect possession. His ageing body would earn a respite from the penalty-box pounding.
ANGEL DI MARIA
On the left side of a front three, his crossing range is matched by his ability to cut inside and link with the strikers. A natural-born winger.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE
Based on form and fitness, his role as a No. 9 could be at risk from Falcao's arrival. If the goals dry up, he could be shunted into a wider position.
It's a toss-up between the Colombian and the Dutchman who gets to go down the middle. But Falcao can find space anywhere around the box and will swop positions with RVP to bend opposing defences out of shape.
KEY SUB: JUAN MATA
Can swop with Rooney if United need a more direct approach or when van Persie's fitness fails to hold.
This article was first published on September 2, 2014.
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