Man Utd vs Real Sociedad: Surprising name featured in Red Devils Europa League squad - as defenders miss out

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Erik ten Hag has named his 25-man squad for Manchester United’s upcoming Europa League game with Real Sociedad.

Manchester United will begin their Europa League campaign with the visit of Real Sociedad on Thursday afternoon.

The Red Devils haven’t featured in the competition since the 2020-21 season, when they reached the final, but lost 11-10 on penalties to Villarreal.

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Erik ten Hag has made several changes to the squad that was selected that day by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, including the £85m signing of Antony from Ajax.

The Red Devils’ boss has splashed the cash on five new summer arrivals, while Martin Dubravka joined on a season-long loan.

United completed the deadline day signing of Antony from Ajax. Credit: Getty. United completed the deadline day signing of Antony from Ajax. Credit: Getty.
United completed the deadline day signing of Antony from Ajax. Credit: Getty. | Getty Images

Ten Hag has also been ruthless with departures during the transfer window. 13 players have permanently left the club, while 11 have sealed loan moves away from Old Trafford.

A busy summer has allowed the Dutchman to put his own stamp on the club, with the United boss now submitting his 25-man Europa League squad for the clash against Sociedad.

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The surprise inclusion is Axel Tuanzebe, who is yet to feature for the Red Devils this season due to suffering an injury in pre-season.

Tuanzebe spent the first-half of last campaign on loan with Aston Villa before joining Napoli in January until the end of the season.

Another name included that might raise a few eyebrows among United’s fanbase is Facundo Pellistri. The Uruguayan international has also been absent this campaign due to injury.

Meanwhile, long-serving centre-back Phil Jones isn’t on the list, while Brandon Wiliams also misses out. Both players have been unavailable for selection due to recovering from injuries.

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Jones, who made five appearances for the club last season, has been undergoing a personalised training programme since the beginning of the new campaign.

ManchesterWorld has been told the decision to include Pellistri and Tuanzebe was made based on expected recovery timescales of players who are currently unavailable.

Pellistri and Tuanzebe are currently ahead of Jones and Williams in terms of fitness, so the decision was made to add them to the A list.

However, though selcted, the latter two mentioned names won’t feature on Thursday as all four players are still injured and are working back towards fitness, while also training away from the main group.

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Below is the Red Devils’ full 25-man A list for Thursday’s game:

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Martin Dubravka, Tom Heaton.

Tuanzebe featured three times for United in their last Europa League campaign. Credit: Getty. Tuanzebe featured three times for United in their last Europa League campaign. Credit: Getty.
Tuanzebe featured three times for United in their last Europa League campaign. Credit: Getty. | Getty Images

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe, Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Midfielders: Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek.

Forwards: Antony, Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo.

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United are also allowed B list for each matchday in the competition, this includes Anthony Elanga, who due to UEFA rules, do not have to be counted as part of the main group as he is a club-trained player born after 1 January 2001.

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