Manchester United have a three-tier squad that will cause Ole Gunnar Solskjaer problems

Man Utd failed to sell all of the players they wanted to during the transfer window and it's left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a bloated sq...

Man Utd failed to sell all of the players they wanted to during the transfer window and it's left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a bloated squad.

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comes to dish out the bibs for a Manchester United training game he's going to have pick his teams carefully.

The United manager could actually pick three different 11-a-side teams with the numbers he has in training given the size of the squad left to him after the closure of the summer transfer window.

While there will be complaints about the lack of depth in the squad after an underwhelming window, at the same time the numbers available to Solskjaer are unnecessarily bloated. It's some contradiction for the club to have got themselves in.

The hectic nature of this season has slightly skewed the usual ideas around squad building, but most managers would want a core of around 20 first team members who feel they're close enough to the starting XI to maintain motivation, with numbers made up of academy graduates and youngsters building experience and waiting for opportunities.

What no manager wants is a string of senior players still turning up for training every day knowing full well they are, barring a number of unforeseen events, unlikely to be anywhere near a game.

That is what Solskjaer has at United. His squad probably has three tiers to it at the moment, maybe four if we include the youngsters. Let's say the likes of Ethan Laird and Teden Mengi are happy to be in the middle tier, knowing chances will come their way in cup competitions and that's about it. New signings Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo (when he arrives in January) are likely to also be in that category.

There are maybe 18 players in the top tier. Those starting every week in the Premier League and the Champions League and the others who are on the fringes and could feature in those games. Aside from the regular starting XI Solskjaer has been using you would have Dean Henderson, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles (likely to replace Luke Shaw), Fred, Scott McTominay, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani.

All of those will think they have a chance of starting big games. There is an argument they can force their way in ahead of the players in front of them at the moment.

After that, there are maybe nine players in the second tier. Eight of those who know their football will be consigned to domestic cup competitions for now, as well as Lee Grant, who is happy with his role as third-choice goalkeeper.

These players know they might make the bench in the Premier League or the Champions League, but regular involvement is beyond them, barring a surprise run of form. They are Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe, Tedem Mengi, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Daniel James and Odion Ighalo. Most of them may be happy with their status, but some will know regular football feels out of reach at the moment.

Then there are those tier three players, the ones who could have left in the window but for a lack of suitable offers or injuries. Sergio Romero, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo could easily have departed in the summer, but all remain. All know first-team football under Solskjaer isn't going to happen now.

United still have work to do to build Solskjaer's ideal squad, not just in terms of incomings, but also outgoings. This squad is both too big and not big enough right now.

Tier One: De Gea, Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Lindelof, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Telles, Shaw, Matic, Fred, McTominay, Pogba, Van de Beek, Fernandes, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial, Cavani

Tier Two: Grant, Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Tuanzebe, Mengi, Lingard, Mata, James, Ighalo

Tier Three: Romero, Rojo, Jones.

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GistLobby⚽: Manchester United have a three-tier squad that will cause Ole Gunnar Solskjaer problems
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