Ronaldo and Martinez to start – Manchester United predicted starting line-up vs Brighton
Manchester United start life under Erik ten Hag with a Premier League match against Brighton on Sunday afternoon.
Cristiano Ronaldo could start against Brighton on Sunday afternoon (Image: Getty Images)
Summer signing Lisandro Martinez could make his full Manchester United debut against Brighton at Old Trafford – and Cristiano Ronaldo is also in line for a surprise start on Sunday afternoon.
Ronaldo, 37, missed the pre-season tour to Thailand and Australia due to a family issue amid speculation surrounding his Old Trafford future. Along with his agent Jorge Mendes, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner held crunch discussions with Erik ten Hag and other United figures at their Carrington base last week.
A definitive update has yet to be provided – but Ronaldo is still a United player for now and has been busy putting in the hard yards after going without so much training this summer. He played 45 minutes in the last friendly match against Rayo Vallecano and might have to lead the line for the impending Premier League opener.
Without the Portugal captain, Ten Hag regularly deployed Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and rejuvenated France striker Anthony Martial in attacking quarters in pre-season. However, the United manager has been dealt an early injury blow with Martial (hamstring) not fit enough to face the Seagulls.
United have signed Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Argentina defender Martinez this summer, but they are yet to bolster their forward line and Ten Hag finds himself with limited options in the department. As such, Ronaldo will almost certainly be fast-tracked into his plans.
Generally speaking, there should be few shocks when Ten Hag names his first competitive line-up. However, there are calls for Eriksen to start following his impressive pre-season cameos, while the biggest decision could be at left-back where Luke Shaw and Malacia are competing for one spot.
Manchester United predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Dalot, Maguire (captain), Martinez, Malacia; McTominay, Fred; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.
The starting XI that Erik ten Hag could pick against Brighton.