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Manchester United in the US: Five things we learned

By Paul Hirst in Chicago

Published 30/07/2015

Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney controls the ball against Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Emiliano Da Silva during the first half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney controls the ball against Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Emiliano Da Silva during the first half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (C) reacts after missing a goal against Paris Saint-Germain during the second half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field in in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi (14) heads the ball against Manchester United defender Luke Shaw (3) and defender Michael Carrick (16) during the second half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field in in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United defender Juan Mata (L), controls the ball against Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi (unseen) and defender Maxwell during the second half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field in in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (L) reacts after missing a goal against Paris Saint-Germain during the second half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field in in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney (L) reacts after missing a goal against Paris Saint-Germain during the second half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field in in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Memphis Depay (C) tries to get past Paris Saint-Germain player during the first half of their International Champions Cup soccer game at Soldier Field July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier heads the ball during the first half of their International Champions Cup soccer game against Manchester United at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ JOSHUA LOTTJoshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United forward Memphis Depay, right, tries to score against Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, left, in the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, second from left, tries to score against Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Emiliano Da Silva (2) and defender Serge Aurier, right, in the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney tries to control the ball against Paris Saint-Germain in the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, left, reacts after missing a shot against Paris Saint-Germain in the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Paris Saint-Germain forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, left, keeps the ball away from Manchester United defender Bastian Schweinsteiger, right, in the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Daley Blind #17 of Manchester United heads the ball over Blaise Matuidi #14 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Christopher Nkunku #33 of Paris Saint-Germain knocks the ball away from Andreas Pereira #44 of Manchester United during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Andreas Pereira #44 of Manchester United moves against Christopher Nkunku #33 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Moreira Marinho #32 of Paris Saint-Germain holds off Juan Mata #8 of Manchester United during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Luis Antonio Valencia #25 of Manchester United charges up the field under pressure from Christopher Nkunku #33 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Wayne Rooney #10 of Manchester United passes against Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Paris Saint-Germain defeated Manchester United 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Juan Mata #8 of Manchester United moves up the field against Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Matteo Darmain #36 of Manchester United and Blaise Matuidi #14 of Paris Saint-Germain chase down the ball during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Blaise Matuidi #14 of Paris Saint-Germain leaps to block a pass by Memphis DePay #9 of Manchester United during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Wayne Rooney #10 of Manchester United moves against Benjamin Stambouli #4 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Memphis Depay #9 of Manchester United battle with Serge Aurier #19 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29: Michael Carrick #16 of Manchester United moves against Benjamin Stambouli #4 of Paris Saint-Germain during a match in the 2015 International Champions Cup at Soldier Field on July 29, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Manchester United touched down in England on Thursday after completing their pre-season tour of the United States.

Here are five things we learned from the four-match tour.

1) UNITED STILL NEED A COMMANDING CENTRE-BACK

Senior figures at United insisted this week that the club will not move for a centre-back if - as looks likely - their bid to sign Sergio Ramos fails. That policy clearly needs a rethink. Louis van Gaal is big on balance - that is why he likes to have a left-footed player and a right-footed player in the middle of defence.

Left-sided utility man Daley Blind started all four games in the US alongside Phil Jones, who had a shocker against Paris St Germain and hardly covered himself in glory against Barcelona either. Chris Smalling was unlucky not to get more game time.

Blind's competition Marcos Rojo is hardly an assured centre-half so United need to invest in that area to improve their chances of a successful season.

2) VAN GAAL WANTS TO PLAY 4-3-3 THIS SEASON

Van Gaal played 4-2-3-1 all tour and then revealed after the final game against PSG that he wants to line his team up in a 4-3-3 formation this season. It is a formation his players are used to, having lined up in that system during the second half of last season.

The Dutchman has said he wants more pace and creativity in attack, so expect him to sign a winger before the transfer window shuts, especially if Angel di Maria departs for PSG.

3) ROONEY WILL BE THE MAIN MAN

Despite being linked with a number of forwards this summer, Van Gaal looks set to stick with the trio of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and James Wilson. Adnan Januzaj will also provide occasional back-up as a striker.

Rooney scored 14 league goals last season, but Van Gaal wants him to add at least 10 more to that total this term.

The United captain has faith he can deliver, but he only chipped in with one goal in America - and that was a fortuitous one as he pushed Barcelona defender Adriano in the back before heading into the net.

4) ANDREAS PEREIRA DESERVES A CRACK AT THE FIRST TEAM

There were many happy faces at United in May when Pereira committed his future to the club by signing a new three-year contract despite interest from PSG.

United were worried they would lose another talented star in the making as they did with Paul Pogba, who left for Juventus on a free. Pereira has shown why there is so much hype around him over the last couple of weeks. He has impressed in the US, scoring his first goal against San Jose Earthquakes and setting up Januzaj against Barcelona.

The fact that the Brazilian can play across a front three will help his selection prospects, but he is at his most deadly in the number 10 position, where Van Gaal has a plethora of options.

5) MEMPHIS DEPAY WILL EXCITE UNITED FANS THIS SEASON

United moved quickly to beat PSG to the signature of Depay in April and on this evidence, it is easy to see why they were so keen on the Dutchman.

Every time he picked the ball up in the US, he looked dangerous. The 21-year-old's strength makes him a good operator with his back to goal and when on the attack, few can match his speed, vision and quick feet.

The Dutchman showed he has an eye for goal, too, capitalising on a defensive error to score his maiden United goal in San Jose.

Depay played in the number 10 role throughout the tour, but is likely to move out wide if Van Gaal opts for a 4-3-3 versus Tottenham on August 8.

 

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