Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will field seven youngsters for Manchester United’s final Premier League game of the season against Crystal Palace.
The 54-year-old recently noted that, with the Europa League final three days after the clash with Palace, he may give a number of Under 23 players a chance.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, noted that the pair will join five other youngsters, alongside Paul Pogba, for the clash with Sam Allardyce’s men.
“Sunday will be a big day for the kids because lots of them are going to play,” he said. “I hope the crowd enjoys that, in spite of it not being a big, strong Manchester United team.
“I hope to play Joel against Crystal Palace. He’s a very good goalkeeper so we’re in safe hands.
“I don’t tell you… I will bring Mitchell, he was on the bench. [Scott] McTominay, he was on the bench. Of course, Axel [Tuanzebe]. Of course, Eric Bailly and [Matty] Willock will come too. Josh Harrop will come. Zachary [Dearnley] will come.
“Pogba will come because Paul is not training or playing since his dad passed away. I will put two or three of my boys rotating during the game, making some changes to save them, but I need to give a little structure of four or five of my boys to give some stability to the kids. I don’t think, by themselves, they will be in [the right] conditions to play the game.”
Seeing such a plethora of youngsters feature in the senior side serves as a tantalising, and indeed somewhat unpredictable, prospect.
The motives behind such a move, as is always the case with Mourinho, are grounded in complete pragmatism. The 54-year-old is only doing this because he has to. Nevertheless, the prospect of seeing Josh Harrop, whose hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this week clearly impressed the Portuguese, lead the line whilst the likes of Demetri Mitchell and Tuanzebe line up alongside Pogba in midfield.
Whatever the result, this promises to be a unique final day of what has been a strange season.