First Team

Manchester United vs Burton Albion: Predicted XI - Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe start

Jose Mourinho noted ahead of a busy September month that he would rotate his squad and he will want to do exactly that on Wednesday night as Manchester United take on Burton Albion in the League Cup following a hectic eight days comprising of games against Stoke City, FC Basel and Everton.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Nemanja Matic ought to be handed a rest ahead of a crucial clash with Southampton next Saturday, paving the way for Mourinho to give a mixture of fringe players and youthful talents a chance to impose themselves on the first team against the 19th placed Championship side. But the 54-year-old will need to be wary of the potential threat posed by the minnows: they come to Old Trafford with absolutely nothing to lose and have, as any supporter will tell you, given United problems before, holding them to a draw at home in 2006 back when they were a non-league outfit.

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Mourinho, therefore, will have to mix first team menace with youngsters desperate to impose themselves to prize open Nigel Clough’s side. You sense that the Portuguese will hand Scott McTominay a chance to impress after the 20-year-old spent some time with the first team last season and enjoyed a superb pre-season tour. He has demonstrated a capacity to move play forward from the middle and, with Michael Carrick alongside him, will look to move the ball quickly to the likes of Anthony Martial and Juan Mata further forward.

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Another youngster deserving of a place in games such as these is Axel Tuanzebe. The teenager enjoyed a superb first senior start against Arsenal back in May, calmly pocketing Alexis Sanchez, and later impressed with his composure and awareness in central midfield. He has done more than enough under Mourinho to merit a regular spot in the squad and supporters will be keen to see how he fares at right back on Wednesday.

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With that in mind, here is a potential XI with the aforementioned pair starting alongside Luke Shaw and Carrick making their first appearances of the 2017/18 campaign.

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By Leo Nieboer

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