Football Features

Mason Greenwood takes another step toward breaking Man Utd’s XI in 1-0 friendly win v Inter

By James Richards

Published: 15:11, 20 July 2019

Manchester United faced Inter this afternoon in the International Champions Cup in Kallang, Singapore.

United started without Romelu Lukaku as transfer interest from the Nerazzurri ramps up but their new signings were again on show with both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James starting.

The fans were out in full to glimpse their idols strutting their stuff on the Kallang turf but who came out with glory and who limped away in shame.

The first half was not much to write home about with neither side creating many chances despite United dominating possession. The second period was decided by a single goal from Red Devils starlet Mason Greenwood who continues to impress.

With that in mind, we take a look at the winners and losers of Manchester United vs Inter.

Winner: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

United’s new signing did himself no harm whatsoever after putting in a strong performance. His confidence on the ball and boundless energy were extremely conspicuous against a rather lethargic Inter.

The 21-year-old has already shown his class after an excellent season at Crystal Palace which earned him his big-money move this summer.

Against Inter his tackling back and recovery were both superb. On a number of occasions, he was able to get back at the Inter attackers and win possession with an exceptional 40-yard trackback the highlight.

He still has plenty of work to do on his passing and game in general but he has age on his side and is in the right place to learn to become an elite player and cornerstone of United’s future.

Winner: Axel Tuanzebe

The Manchester United defender started in Kallang and although Inter were unable to offer much of a threat, everything he did was composed and crisp. In fact, he made some superb interceptions that highlighted his positional awareness and it appears that a year with Aston Villa has helped his game develop another notch or two.

In the second half, he made a superb recovering tackle that prevented an almost certain goal after a low, near-post cross was lashed in from the right. His athleticism to get to the ball and prevent Inter scoring was excellent and he will have done his chances of featuring for United this season no harm at all.

Loser: Inter’s board

Inter have a lot of work to do this summer if they are to get anywhere near Juventus. As it stands, they will be lucky if they even get close to eating their dust.

The Inter performance was poor, yes, but the lack of options for Antonio Conte meant that his hands were tied. The team improved only slightly in the second half with the introduction of Ivan Perisic but he was the only player that looked as though he could make headway after a limp attacking display in the first half.

With both Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan still contracted to the club despite neither having a future, the board need to move quickly to find them new clubs and open up space in the wage bill for the new signings Conte has been so desperately calling out for.

Winner: Mason Greenwood

Although the 17-year-old only had 30 minutes to show what he can do, he didn’t miss a beat. The youngster was excellent and gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer some more food for thought about how to use the forward this season.

The Norwegian has already indicated that Greenwood could feature on the opening day against Chelsea and the pre-season performances have backed up the United manager on those sentiments.

Speaking earlier in the week the United boss was asked whether the Bradford-born starlet would feature on the opening day, saying: “He’s got a chance to start that one definitely. He’s capable, more than capable.”

Greenwood has now found the net in back-to-back friendlies and left the entire Inter backline for dead to score the winner in this one. His touch and composure showed far more maturity than his tender years would suggest and the finish was just excellent – a definite winner here.

Loser: Nemanja Matic

The midfielder may only be 30 but he, somehow, looked a lot older in this one. He didn’t do a huge amount wrong but is still not recognisable to the player who did so well for Chelsea.

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Manchester United need to re-think their plans if they are going to build a top-four challenge based on the ability of the Serbian international. He appeared slow and listless at times which, considering he is meant to be a dynamic fulcrum in the middle of the park, is worrying indeed.

There is still time for him to get into his rhythm as the season doesn’t begin for three weeks but, on this effort, a lot of work still needs to be done.

Winner: Romelu Lukaku

It seems strange that a man who didn’t even appear off the bench comes out as a winner but either way you look at it, the Belgium star was just that in this one.

Inter looked limp in attack throughout and the pair they went with from the off never really troubled United. Samuele Longo and Sebastiano Esposito both worked hard but the former Chelsea boss is well aware of his need to improve the squad.

“For sure it’s not easy to play without a striker but the market is open so there is still a process for players to come in and out,” the Inter coach said earlier this week. “It’s not easy to play against teams like Juventus and Manchester United without strikers.”

His point couldn’t have been proved more emphatically in this one with Inter lacking any sort of attacking threat. The inability for the Nerazzurri to hold the ball up meant United were able to dominate possession and stop the Italian side from building anything of note.

Lukaku’s move to Inter might suddenly become a higher priority in Milan and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they quickly find the other £30m United are asking stuffed behind the sofa.

Even if the Belgian star does not leave United, based on the performance of both Martial and Rashford, there is definitely a place for him at Old Trafford. The big striker offers another option which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be well aware of.