Bruno Fernandes new position and two other pre-season experiments for Manchester United to try

Man Utd's pre-season began with a win over Derby and they have four more warm-up fixtures to come before their Premier League opener vs Leeds.


Pre-season can be a strange period for coaches - as it is the only time when results aren't important, with an added emphasis instead placed on fitness, performances and tactics ahead of the new campaign.

The nature of pre-season and friendly matches presents coaches with a platform to experiment by testing fresh and unconventional ideas, with those often involving positional switches for certain players, or new formations for the team.

Manchester United 's pre-season began with a 2-1 win against Derby on Sunday, but which players could take part in tactical experiments conducted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he approaches the start of the Premier League campaign?

Aaron Wan-Bissaka as a wide centre-back

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is renowned for his defensive quality; The United full-back has developed a reputation for how difficult he can be when engaging in one-on-one battles, as he regularly comes out on top.

The 23-year-old defender is so strong without the ball that the United paid £50m to Crystal Palace for his services in 2019, but he isn't always the most effective when in possession around the final third.

He's improving, but if Solskjaer was to employ a back three formation, Wan-Bissaka could flourish as a wide centre-back - there would be less of a responsibility on him to deliver meaningful attacking contributions, and he'd also also be comfortable when defending out wide because of his full-back roots.

Bruno Fernandes as a central midfielder

Although he's yet to report for pre-season training due to his Euro 2020 exploits, Bruno Fernandes could be tested as a no.8 rather than a no.10 this summer.

Rumours have emerged recently suggesting that Solskjaer is toying with the prospect of 4-3-3 at Old Trafford next season, which would involve Fernandes dropping from his no.10 role to become more of a box-to-box central midfielder.

The change could be compared to that made by Pep Guardiola upon his arrival in Manchester, with the Spaniard converting David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne into offensive no.8 types.

Paul Pogba could be fielded alongside Fernandes as the second no.8 which is a mouth-watering prospect to consider, although the defensive emphasis placed on the shoulders of the team's holding midfielder in such a scenario could be too much.

Daniel James as a full-back

Daniel James has proved to be a useful addition to United's squad since his arrival from Swansea, with the Welshman typically helping out as a right-sided forward as part of Solskjaer's favoured 4-2-3-1 system.

His pace in particular can be extremely difficult to defend against but while posing his speedy threat, he's also showcased a need to improve in certain areas.

James specifically lacks an end product as an attacking player, with that rightfully deemed to be essential at a top club such as United; it is a quality which is held in abundance by the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.

As a result of his lack of output in terms of goals and assists, it could make sense for Solskjaer to move him away from the final third while ensuring that he still has a platform to exhibit what he's good at.

If he was to be used as a right-back, he could benefit from the space on the flanks and the one-on-one dribbling he'd be asked to do, as well as crossing from wide areas.

The switch perhaps wouldn't make as much sense against top opponents given the defensive qualities of Wan-Bissaka, but when United are the dominant outfit searching for goals, James could provide an interesting threat as a right-back.

Source: manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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