Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says there will be an announcement “soon” about the captaincy for the new season.
Last term’s club captain Antonio Valencia departed United this summer and the armband has been worn by four players during pre-season – David De Gea, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata.
Tuesday’s 1-0 friendly win over Kristiansund in Norway saw goalkeeper De Gea skipper for the first 60 minutes and full-back Young, who regularly captained the side in 2018/19, then take over.
Solskjaer was quoted on United’s official website as saying when asked whether De Gea would be made captain on a permanent basis: “We’ve got different captain types.
“There are vocal leaders and players like David, who has merit with what he’s done and he’ll play the majority of the games. We’ll announce something soon.”
Paul Pogba is another player who has donned the armband during Solskjaer’s reign, in the 2-1 FA Cup loss to Wolves in March.
As well as the captaincy issue, there could also be news on the transfer front in the coming week.
United are being linked with Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, with it being reported that the Argentina international could be part of a swap deal that sees Romelu Lukaku go the other way.
Solskjaer refused to name names following the Kristiansund match but said of possible comings and goings “we’re working on one or two cases.”
The Red Devils have so far this summer signed defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace and midfielder Daniel James from Swansea.
When asked about his thoughts on the squad ahead of next week’s transfer deadline, Solskjaer told Sky Sports News on Thursday: “I think we’re looking good.
“Of course, we’ve been working on a few cases over the summer. It’s never easy. I have to say the club has been very good but the market is very hard. We’re trying to get into the start of the season with the squad that we want.”
Solskjaer has also expressed his concern about the transfer window closing earlier in England than in other countries.
The 46-year-old said: “I think we have picked the short straw to be fair. Because you know when our league starts, there are still three more weeks, there could still be clubs hovering around your players. I don’t think it’s a good one for us, no.”
The window closes next Thursday, with United playing their Premier League opener at home against Chelsea three days later. Their final pre-season friendly is against AC Milan in Cardiff this Saturday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reiterated his faith in Paul Pogba by stating that a Manchester United eleven without him isn’t the first team.
The Frenchman started on the bench in United’s 1-0 against Kristiansund with Solskjaer otherwise fielding a strong starting eleven.
However, when asked if that side was his first-choice team, the Norweigian said it couldn’t be without Pogba.
“I think when Paul Pogba does not start, I think you know it is not the first 11,” Solskjaer said.
“We have got a strong squad and I feel that there is not too big a difference when we make the subs (substitutions). So, of course, we are going to have to find the right balance.”
Since being appointed as United manager in December last year, Solskjaer has always maintained he wants to build his team around Pogba. Despite the midfielder’s desire to leave this summer, that has not changed and he now appears set for another season at Old Trafford.
Manchester United displaced Arsenal last season as the Premier League team relying most heavily on graduates of their own academy.
United’s famed youth system produced the most players across the Premier League as a whole for the third year in succession, but the tally of minutes given to homegrown players has previously been the Gunners’ domain.
For the 2018-19 season, however, United’s academy did the double as almost a quarter of their playing time went to talent developed in Carrington.
Key trio lift United to top spot
PA has once again tracked the playing time of every player in last season’s Premier League along with the club or academy where they finished their youth career.
Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard continued to lead United’s homegrown contingent, with the former pair increasing their playing time to 3,245 and 2,494 minutes respectively while Lingard dipped slightly to 1,765.
Scott McTominay played 953 minutes and fellow midfielder Andreas Pereira 660 as United gave 9,334 minutes of playing time to homegrown players – up from 6,858 the previous season and accounting for 23 per cent of the club’s league season including stoppage time.
Their rise to top spot also stems in part from Arsenal’s tally dropping from 7,933 minutes to 4,976. Injuries roughly halved Hector Bellerin’s involvement while Jack Wilshere left the club, along with lesser contributors from 2017-18 in Francis Coquelin and Hoffenheim loanee Reiss Nelson.
That dropped them all the way to seventh in the homegrown standings, leaving north London rivals Tottenham to provide the main challenge to United as they did in the league-wide academy study. Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Harry Winks were regulars for Spurs, supplemented by just over 650 minutes shared between Kyle Walker-Peters, Oliver Skipp and Luke Amos.
Crystal Palace ranked third, though their hold on that position looks fragile with Aaron Wan-Bissaka sold to United and Wilfried Zaha also consistently linked with a move away – that would leave only midfielder Luke Dreher’s four minutes from the season’s tally.
Declan Rice’s emergence lifted West Ham to fourth while Southampton and Leicester also surpassed Arsenal. Saints matched United for the most homegrown players used – nine.
City lag behind but hopes high for Foden
In contrast to their local rivals, Manchester City trailed the entire league in the use of homegrown players.
Despite the significant investment in City’s academy facilities adjacent to the Etihad Stadium, Phil Foden was the only in-house graduate to feature for Pep Guardiola’s side on their way to the league title.
The talented midfielder played just 371 minutes in 13 league appearances, including only three starts – though his involvement in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions means hopes remain high for the 19-year-old, whom Pep Guardiola recently labelled “the most talented player I have ever seen”.
City also won last season’s Under-18 Premier League Cup and reached the FA Youth Cup final – and of course, fans will look at the Premier League table and be happier with their lot than that of United.
Bright spot for Terriers
There were 66 players in last season’s Premier League representing the club which developed them, an increase of four on 2017-18’s figures.
Only five clubs had five or more as United and Southampton were joined by Spurs and Arsenal, with six apiece, and Huddersfield.
Town were relegated in ignominious fashion but Phillip Billing, now departed for Bournemouth, and Tommy Smith remained regular first-team contributors while youngsters Matty Daly, Aaron Rowe and Demeaco Duhaney featured late in the season as 9.4 per cent of playing time went to homegrown players.
Six of one…
City were one of half a dozen Premier League teams to use a solitary graduate of their own academy, though many featured far more than Foden.
Lewis Dunk, ever-present the previous season, played 3,376 minutes in 2018-19 to single-handedly put Brighton ninth in homegrown playing time, while Cardiff’s Joe Ralls and Watford’s Adrian Mariappa each played over 2,000 minutes.
Dwight McNeil is the only homegrown player to play for Burnley in the three years of the study but having only made his league debut in the last two minutes of the 2017-18 campaign, he established himself last term with 1,683 minutes, three goals and five assists.
Morgan Gibbs-White broke into Wolves’ line-up with 766 minutes – like Foden, he will hope to build on that in the coming season.