The Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo hosts Manchester United's first pre-season friendly of the summer, as the Red Devils lock horns with recently-relegated Leeds United on Wednesday.
The Red Devils will endeavour to build on a steady period of progression under Erik ten Hag, while the Whites prepare for life back in the Championship after a dismal 2022-23.The naysayers were out in full force when Manchester United took zero points from their opening two games of the 2022-23 season against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, but by the final close of the curtain in May, much more of a buzz could be felt around Old Trafford. Thanks to astute acquisitions, admirable defensive resilience on home soil and the red-hot form of Marcus Rashford in particular, Man United ended their six-year trophy drought in the EFL Cup, were only bested by treble winners Manchester City in the FA Cup and sealed their return to the promised land of the Champions League with a third-placed Premier League finish. The less said about Man United's Europa League capitulation against Sevilla the better, but Ten Hag's first season at the helm will no doubt go down as a success, as the Red Devils won their final four top-flight matches of the season to fend off Newcastle United for the final podium place.
Ten Hag guided Man United through a tricky period of takeover negotiations - which are still moving at an incredibly slow pace in the background and foiling the Red Devils' transfer plans to a certain degree - but the marquee arrival of Mason Mount has already been concluded, and Andre Onana could be the next through the door.
While the powers-that-be will also attempt to bring in a high-calibre striker, Ten Hag has a tour of the United States pencilled into his diary - where the Red Devils will face Arsenal, Wrexham, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund - prior to which they will battle French giants Lyon in Edinburgh on July 19.French powerhouses Lens and Athletic Bilbao also lie in wait for Man United before they kick off their 49th successive top-flight campaign against Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there will be no sojourn to Elland Road for a typically fiery affair after Leeds' recent misfortunes.
UNITED TAKE 26-MAN SQUAD TO NORWAY
Mason Mount has been selected and is in line to make his first appearance since completing his move from Chelsea last week.The new no.7 is joined in the travelling party by fit-again Lisandro Martinez, who has recovered from the foot operation that ruled him out of the back end of last season.Several younger players get a chance to shine, including some of those who enjoyed fruitful loan spells away from the club, but there is also plenty of experience with the likes of Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred and Jadon Sancho all included.
Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton, Nathan Bishop, Matej Kovar.
Defenders: Alvaro Fernandez, Rhys Bennett, Will Fish, Marc Jurado, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams.
Midfielders: Toby Collyer, Fred, Dan Gore, Hannibal, Isak Hansen-Aaroen, Kobbie Mainoo, Mason Mount, Maxi Oyedele, Charlie Savage.
Forwards: Amad, Noam Emeran, Omari Forson, Joe Hugill, Jadon Sancho, Shola Shoretire.
Leeds United review.
Not even survival specialist Sam Allardyce could save Leeds' top-flight bacon, as the Whites were made to pay for a spate of dire defensive displays and had their fate sealed in a 4-1 beating at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.Spurs' previous away-day deficiencies gave Leeds fans a glimmer of hope before kickoff, but they were soon forced to witness their side being torn to shreds by the Lilywhites, and Everton's last-gasp win over Bournemouth would have rendered a Whites win inconsequential anyway.
Making the net ripple was not the issue for Leeds, who scored in 13 successive Premier League matches in the business end of the season, but new head coach Daniel Farke could do with taking a leaf out of Man United's book in a bid to solve his side's crisis at the back.
There were only four days between Man United and Leeds' pair of Premier League battles last year, with the Red Devils rescuing a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford prior to a straightforward 2-0 triumph at Elland Road, and the Whites will also tackle Monaco and Hearts this month before their quest for redemption begins.
Leeds United team news.
Leeds still have a handful of long-term injury concerns bedevilling them, as Stuart Dallas (leg) and Luis Sinisterra (ankle) are still in rehabilitation and will not be able to play a part in Oslo, while Marc Roca and Junior Firpo are also reported to have picked up fresh problems.
Tyler Adams (hamstring) and Jack Harrison (hip) are making steady progress but will not be rushed back, while the inevitable exodus of players has already begun, as Tyler Roberts, Adam Forshaw, Joel Robles, Robin Koch and Brenden Aaronson have all sought pastures new.
Internationals such as Rodrigo, Dan James, Rasmus Kristensen, Max Wober, Illan Meslier, Crysencio Summerville and Wilfried Gnonto will also be given more time to get up to speed, although the latter's future remains a major talking point amid links with Everton and Aston Villa.
Neither team will be at full strength in Norway as their international representatives return in dribs and drabs, but Leeds boss Farke could have done without a lengthy injury list upon his arrival in Yorkshire.
With a host of in-game changes also on the cards, the result of this affair will pale into insignificance once the season gets underway, but we can only picture the Red Devils commencing their period of summer friendlies with a routine success
3-1 Manchester United win.