Preseason friendlies are all about getting everyone fit for the coming season, but in the case of Manchester United and many other teams, they're also about getting a look at young players who aren't in the first choice starting XI. United have bought a couple of youngsters, while a couple others have returned on loan. With such a big squad and only 25 spots available, the young talents on the Red Devils' roster are using these friendlies to fight for playing time.
So, while it will be interesting to see the two teams from the most recent Champions League final battle against each other again, Manchester United's friendly against Barcelona is much more about getting a look at their young players than it is about revenge from what happened in May. Gene from SB Nation's Manchester United blog The Busby Babe explains:
In general, it is simply fun to watch young talent and to try to project how they might help the club in the future, or even in the near-term. Players like de Gea, Rafael, Fabio, and Smalling are certainly going to be key contributors for the upcoming season but other players like Cleverley, Phil Jones, Welbeck, and Macheda are all exciting talents that are currently fighting for a prominent role at United. Most of these players will likely get a run at some point on Saturday night and it will be intriguing to observe on how they fare against a side that is likely the best in the world right now. With concerns over Fletcher's health and the lack of purchases in central midfield thus far during the current transfer window, it may be Cleverley that has the most to gain in the coming months. A solid performance versus the world's best midfield would send notice to Sir Alex and the United brass.
Tom Cleverley has had some fantastic loan spells away from United in the last couple of years and it will be interesting to see if he can clinch a first team place in the Manchester United squad this season. Him and his fellow youngsters can go a long way towards securing roster spots with a good performance on Saturday night.