Gary Neville: ‘Energy and athleticism’ key in Man Utd team selection at Leeds as Jesse Lingard starts

Ralf Rangnick has made three changes from the Red Devils’ last match for Sunday’s Premier League encounter at Elland Road.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard have been chosen for their “energy and athleticism” to take on a Leeds United team who demand hard work from their opponents.

The Sky Sports pundit was speaking live from Elland Road ahead of the match following the announcement of the visitors’ starting line-up.

Lingard makes his first Premier League start for United in over two years while Wan-Bissaka and Paul Pogba return to the starting XI with Diego Dalot, Fred and Anthony Elanga dropping to the bench from the team that started their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.

“When you come to Leeds there’s the demand that you run more than most,” said Neville on Sky Sports Super Sunday.

esse Lingard of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on February 08, 2022 in Burnley, England

“Wan-Bissaka and Lingaard on that right-hand side have loads of energy and athleticism and I would think that’s Ralf Rangnick’s thinking behind it.

Advertisement

“Everyone knows when you come here you’re going to have to put a lot of hard work in.  “When Manchester United get the ball they have the quality in Pogba, [Bruno] Fernandes, [Cristiano] Ronaldo to be able to beat those Leeds players one on one.” 

Meanwhile, Ralf Rangnick was also speaking about the selection of Lingard. He told United’s club media: “Jesse looked sharp in training, scored a lot of goal and deserved his chance from the start. He behaved as a professional should behave.”

United “can’t afford” to drop points at Leeds

Neville also spoke about United’s upcoming run of fixtures where they will face Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the next few weeks.

Spurs won 3-2 against City on Saturday to continue the incredible race for fourth spot and the final Champions League place, with Arsenal also winning and Wolverhampton Wanderers playing later on Sunday.

Advertisement

Neville added: “Manchester United’s run over the last couple of months has been welcoming for Ralf Rangnick, but he has a tough period in font of him.

“He’ll recognise that Tottenham result yesterday will have boosted them at a point where they looked like they were in decline. United cant afford to drop points here today.

“This February/March period was always on  the horizon, everybody knew Manchester United’s run of fixtures over Christmas and into January were okay.

“This group of fixtures are a completely different kettle of fish. City and Liverpool away and Tottenham at home and this game today, it is hostile and they’ll have to be right in every single way. 

“Liverpool and Leeds are the two fixtures, in terms of atmosphere, they’ll find the hardest.”