With two games coming up in the space of 48 hours, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has held up his hands and admitted that major changes need to be made to protect his team.
Leicester City arrives at Old Trafford on Tuesday night before rivals Liverpool climb up on Thursday to play the rescheduled game, which was postponed due to protests from fans at the Glazer family property.
Solskjaer has said he has no choice but to make changes to protect the health and fitness of his stars, noting that managers vying for a top-four finish may not be satisfied with his selections.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dropped big hints that youth players will be hired this week
All evidence suggests that Solskjaer fielded a weakened team against the Foxes on Tuesday, before returning to full strength against Liverpool on Thursday.
And so, with that in mind, the Norwegian could be on the cusp of handing over some unpolished gems some Premier League experience in United’s famous red shirt.
With a solid roster of raw talent in the Old Trafford youth academy, now could be time for some new hopefuls from United. Sportsmail a closer look …
Amad Diallo, 18
Since arriving at Old Trafford from Atalanta in January, Amad has been the hot topic of conversation.
United paid a staggering money for the teenager, £ 37 million to be precise, with the club confident that he will become one of the world’s leading stars of tomorrow.
Amad has been sitting on the couch at United since the turn of the year, acclimating to his new environment and learning the ways of English football.
Amad Diallo has been the talk of Manchester after completing his transfer from Atalanta in January
Fans had to be patient despite being desperate to see the starlet, although Amad has teased his brilliance several times.
The youngster scored twice on his U23 debut for United against none other than bitter rivals Liverpool, before taking a shocking performance against Italian royalty AC Milan in the Europa League and scoring a sublime header at Old Trafford.
Amad was withdrawn after Monday night’s U23 clash with Derby, for which he would have been a sure starter, meaning plans are being made to play against Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Amad has already built a reputation in European football after scoring on his Serie A debut for Atalanta, breaking several records in the process.
United paid a huge amount for Amad, but he has already shown flashes of brilliance, such as his header against Italian giants AC Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg.
The fleet-footed teenager was introduced to the final stage of Atalanta’s Serie A victory over Udinese in October 2019, when he picked up the ball halfway through the opponent’s half, drove it forward and then hit from outside the area in an attempt.
Amad had played senior football for just 21 minutes before United pulled the trigger and chose to give in to Atalanta’s demands to get their man.
The huge amount, United concluded, was worth it before an inevitable bidding war erupted for the star later on.
Shola Shoretire, 17
Speaking at his Monday morning press conference, Solskjaer said youth stars “definitely have a chance” to perform at this week’s senior games, when specifically asked about Amad and also Shoretire.
The 17-year-old is considered one of the unique players United currently has on its books and has already made his senior United debut despite his youth.
Wearing shirt No. 74, Shoretire was introduced against Newcastle in February, becoming the seventh youngest player to represent United in the club’s history – and the second youngest player behind Angel Gomes in the Premier League era.
Shola Shoretire is considered one of the most unique and exciting players in United’s setup
The jersey number he wore is also the highest number ever in a competitive match for United.
Shoretire was considered a shoo-in this week, but his inclusion in Monday night’s U23 game could be complicated. While Amad was held back from playing in the season-closing game against Derby, Shoretire was not and played 90 minutes from the left wing.
Shoretire’s senior debut against Newcastle had meaning as it was the team he played for before joining the Red Devils. He joined United after his parents moved to the city for work.
Former Newcastle Academy coach David Ballantyne recounted Chronicle Live at the time: “There are always one or two that make you think ‘wow, yes – he has a real chance of becoming a player’ and Shola was one of them.
In February, Shoretire became the second-youngest United debutant in the Premier League era
‘He was like a ready-made athlete. It was phenomenal and just so fast. That stood out – he just had that natural speed. But no one could take him off the ball either, he had that power, and he was light, quick on his feet, light on his feet.
‘I was initially frustrated that Newcastle lost it alone, but it was a scenario that couldn’t be remedied when his parents were offered a job in the Manchester area that they had to take.’
While Monday’s recovery time means Shoretire is unlikely to face Leicester in any form, the prodigious talent could be retained in the extended senior team ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool arrival on Thursday.
Anthony Elanga, 19
Swedish winger Elanga is creating a buzz around United’s Carrington base, with many insiders tipping him as the next big thing in a red shirt.
The 19-year-old has quietly learned his trade, gaining invaluable experience traveling home and away with the senior team and getting places on the couch.
Elanga was part of the traveling squad for United’s Europa League trips to both Granada and Rome, but remained an unused substitute on both occasions.
Swedish top player Anthony Elanga was stopped from the U23’s on Monday and is expected to play
In 16 Premier League 2 appearances this season, he has nine goals and three assists. His rapid progress was such that Solskjaer quickly brought him to the first team.
Elanga first drew attention to United during the 2018/19 term as a freshman, scoring four times in 22 games for Neil Ryan’s U18 squad and seemed way too good for the age group.
The pair’s pick of Elanga’s efforts came in the form of a Goal of the Month against Newcastle in March, after an extensive dribble that knocked out the majority of the opposition team.
On Monday night, Elanga was also stopped from playing with the U23 squad, suggesting a role against Leicester at Old Trafford is imminent.
Elanga has sat on the bench for United several times after dazzling with the U23s
It is clear that at some point in the final games of the current Premier League season, Solskjaer had hoped to be able to give Elanga his debut, and the opening now seems to have formed.
The youngster is not expected to start, although he will be in line for a cameo in the second half in which he will be able to present a case to the Norwegian for his future inclusion in the higher ranks.
On March 16, he secured his future by signing a new long-term contract with the club.
Hannibal Mejbri, 18
Mejbri has been hailed by United coaches as one of the most naturally accomplished dribblers to develop in the youth academy.
The teenage star brings a lot of personality to competitions and is easily recognizable on the pitch thanks to his large mop of David Luiz-esque curly hair.
United managed to beat Mejbri away from the famous Monaco youth line-up in August 2019, and many glasses were shouted with the club in the belief that they have a star of the future.
Talented teen Hannibal Mejbri could make United’s roster this week, but is less likely to be there
Mejbri was taken over at the age of 16, but the full scope of his contract with United means the club could pay Monaco nearly £ 9 million if all the clauses are met.
The French-born attacking midfielder has his affairs handled by super agent Jorge Mendes and is a regular contender in the United U23 rankings.
While Mejbri is expected to be included in the squad against Leicester, his chances of performing for the seniors took a hit on Monday night after being assigned to play against Derby U23s.
Mejbri played, scored and was sent off in a chaotic 3-1 loss.