Goal Gazette

Watch: Jadon Sancho Goal | Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa

Van de Beek is foraging forward into the area early on – he was in line with the six-yard box just then – and Fred is clearly occupying the holding role for however long United go without recruiting a midfielder. Ten Hag was complimentary about Fred yesterday, dubbing him the “connector”. He set out that stall in Bangkok for the attack vs defence drills when Fred received the ball from the deepest point.

Both sides are wearing their away shirts here, but United wearing their home kit surely would have made more sense. It certainly felt like a home occasion, with The Stone Roses playing before kick-off.

You know it is pre-season when the stadium compere says “Make some noise for Fred the Red”. He is not as omnipresent on matchdays back in Manchester but he still gets wheeled out for the pre-season tours. A colleague even had a picture with him at Ann Arbor four years ago. “That’s your top contact,” someone quipped.

Erik ten Hag says he will not use the pitch as an excuse when Manchester United face Aston Villa in their fourth pre-season friendly.

Ten Hag has made two changes from the side that defeated Crystal Palace earlier in the week, with Donny van de Beek coming in for the injured Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw starting ahead of summer signing Tyrell Malacia.

Raphael Varane is back in the squad but only on the bench, and there is a tour debut for James Garner, who has been named in a matchday squad for the first time this summer.

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