Manchester United kicked off Tour 2019 by recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Perth Glory, with two new signings making their first appearances in front of 50,206 fans at Optus Stadium.
Daniel James played for the first half and Aaron Wan-Bissaka the second, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave much-needed playing time to 23 members of a 24-man squad that was named for the match.
Unused substitute David De Gea watched from the bench, while Lee Grant, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku all supported the team from the stands after being rested due to what the manager has described as
Academy graduates Marcus Rashford and James Garner scored the decisive goals, with finishes that Solskjaer would have have been proud of during his predatory playing career.
There was also a debut for the new adidas away kit for 2019/20 after it was revealed and put on sale by the club on Friday.
Summer signing James was named in the starting XI for his first United appearance and the young Welshman showed glimpses of his quality during a 45-minute outing, playing out wide on the left wing and dribbling directly at his marker on several occasions. Wearing the no.21 shirt, he cut an energetic figure and executed a series of teasing crosses from the byline that almost led to goals.
Academy graduate Axel Tuanzebe also donned his United shirt for the first time since returning from a season-long loan at Aston Villa, where he helped the Midlands club to win promotion to the Premier League.
The towering and physically impressive centre-back is highly rated by Solskjaer and looked comfortable at Optus Stadium, handing the Glory attack with ease alongside Phil Jones. He almost scored, too, with a towering header that highlighted his threat at the other end of the pitch.
While the first half ended goalless, United were clearly the better team and went closest to scoring via an Ashley Young free-kick and Lingard’s long-range shot that goalkeeper Liam Reddy did well to parry. The Reds could have won a penalty as well, when Chong was seemingly tripped inside the box.
Solskjaer made 11 substitutions at the start of the second half to ensure that the majority of his squad received at least 45 minutes of action.
New signing Wan-Bissaka was among those who entered the field, in the no.29 shirt, and so too was 17-year-old Greenwood. He almost scored straightaway with a shot that flew into the side netting, after nut-megging his marker Ivan Franjic.
The deadlock was eventually – and deservedly – broken in the 60th minute when Wythenshawe lad Rashford received the ball via a Paul Pogba flick, spun and calmly stroked home a left-footed finish.
The energetic Greenwood, who has clearly grown in stature over the summer, then had an opportunity to double the advantage moments later, when his intelligent run through the defensive line was found by Pogba, but the teenager dragged his shot wide of the post from around six yards. He went on to hit the post during a really positive performance in Perth.
Talented prospect Garner enjoyed a run-out late on when he was introduced for Luke Shaw (who appeared to be in some discomfort) and the Academy graduate made an instant impact, latching onto a loose ball to unleash a driven shot that flew into the bottom corner of the net.
That moment of excellent individual skill concluded what was a good night’s work for United, with the greater test of historic rivals Leeds United to come at the same stadium on Wednesday.
United first half: Romero, Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Young (c), Matic, Andreas, James, Lingard, Chong, Martial.
United second half: Pereira, Wan-Bissaka, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw (Garner 83), McTominay, Pogba, Mata, Gomes, Rashford, Greenwood.
Sub not used: De Gea.
Perth Glory: Reddy (Velaphi 77), Tratt, Lowry, Franjic (Rawlins 90), Chianese (K Popovic 76), Fornaroli (G Popovic 76), Harold (D’Agostino 62), Mrcela, Brimmer (Wilson 62), Juande, Kilkenny.
Subs not used: Bodnar, Brooks.