How Ralf Rangnick could line up Manchester United XI this season

Manchester United have confirmed the appointment German coach Ralf Rangnick as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor as manager on an interim basis.

United, who made the decision to sack Solskjaer last week following their the 4-1 defeat to Watford on Saturday afternoon, made the decision to search for an interim boss to take the team through until the end of the season, before appointing their next permanent manager next summer.

Michael Carrick oversaw two games as caretaker boss. And despite interest in PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino as their next permanent long-term boss, the French club rejected an approach to appoint him straight away and United turned to Rangnick.

United will pay out his contract with Russian giants Lokomotiv Moscow and he the Rangnick will be in the dugout against Arsenal on Thursday night.

MEN Sport has taken a close look at how Rangnick could set United up for the rest of the season:

Goalkeeper – David de Gea

Arguably United’s Player of the season so far, Spaniard De Gea will fancy his chances of retaining his place in goal regardless of who fills Solskjaer’s shoes.

The 31-year-old has been in inspired form between the sticks and proved his weight in gold once again during Tuesday evening’s 2-0 Champions League triumph over Villarreal, making some impressive saves.

Although Dean Henderson may fancy becoming United’s long-term first-choice shot-stopper in years to come, it would be quite frankly ridiculous to take De Gea out of the side at this moment in time.

Defence – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

Renowned for liking his full-backs to push up high when playing with a back-four, Wan-Bissaka and Shaw could prove to be key figures in attacking sense for United under Rangnick.

While Shaw grabbed six assists in all competitions last season, as well as experiencing playing in a wing-back role for England on numerous occasions, Wan-Bissaka is not quite as fruitful when bombing forward from right-back, meaning the right-back area may be a position United look to add to in 2022, amid their continued interest in Kieran Trippier.

However, appointing a temporary manager may mean that they are not prepared to invest in the squad in January, potentially leaving Rangnick to work with what he inherits.

Although Maguire’s form has been well off the pace of late, you would expect him to form a central-defensive partnership with Varane, with United going back to basics.

Midfield – Donny van de Beek, Fred, Bruno Fernandes

For the bulk of his managerial career, which spans more than 30 years, Rangnick has had a tendency, for much of it, to play with a 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 diamond. Considering United have a wide range of midfield players, both defensively and offensively, that could be a tricky system for him to implement at Old Trafford.

During his time at Hoffenheim, however, he did play with a 4-3-3, a system he could easily replicate at United.

Having a defensive presence with Fred, who could operate alongside Van de Beek, who could carry out a box-to-box type role, would allow Fernandes to roam in and around the No.10 position.

That would open the door for him to drive forward, produce his magic and link the midfield and attack.

Attack – Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford

If a 4-3-3 system is what Rangnick would go for, it is hard to imagine him picking an alternative front-three to the one named above.

Sancho, who has scored two goals in his past two games, deserves the opportunity to make the right-wing berth his own. With Rangnick keen on his full-backs pushing high up the pitch, it would allow Sancho to drift inside, get closer to Ronaldo and, hopefully, add more goals to his name.

The same can be said for Rashford on the left. He is a versatile attacker, but playing out wide is his only route into the current United side because of Ronaldo playing down the middle.

Nevertheless, with the full-backs bombing on, squeezing Sancho, Ronaldo and Rashford together as a front-three could be hugely promising and exciting.

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