Paul Pogba set for Manchester United return as Juan Mata guides Alejandro Garnacho

Injury-hit Manchester United have put their final preparations in place as attentions turn to relegation-threatened Norwich City this Saturday afternoon (3pm). Three points are a necessity for United against the Canaries if they are to keep their dwindling top-four hopes alive.

During his pre-match press conference, Ralf Rangnick confirmed that United will be without Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Fred and Edinson Cavani through injury. Those absences have presented academy starlet Alejandro Garnacho with an opportunity to join the matchday squad.

The teenager was spotted at the club’s pre-match Lowry Hotel base. Before that, Garnacho was among those who took part in a senior training session at Carrington.

READ MORE: Manchester United squad vs Norwich City includes Alejandro Garnachjo

Pogba set to return to starting XI?

Central midfield was already a hot topic at Old Trafford as key figures in the boardroom prepare to step up plans to recruit in that position this summer. However, it remains an issue for the here and now, too, as Fred and McTominay miss out through injury. Then you can factor in that shock announcement from Nemanja Matic which draws an end to his time from him as a United player. It looks as though he will be partnered by Paul Pogba against Norwich as he was seen being put through his peace in a rondo-type exercise.

A pre-game stretch for Paul Pogba as he lunges for the ball in training.

Mata takes Garnacho under his wing

The shock announcement from Matic signals further change that is coming at United. With a new manager, namely Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, on the way and players such as Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata set to leave, it was the latter who took academy sensation Garnacho under his wing before and during the session.

Mixing it with the superstars

Garnacho and other members of the next generation must be pinching themselves right now. Okay, so things may not be going to plan for the United first team, but this exposure to training will only stand them in good stead for the future. Mixing it with Ronaldo and his teammates from him were Garnacho, Hannibal Mejbri and Alvaro Fernandez, who simply could not hide his delight at chasing down the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Alvaro Fernandez chases down none other than United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jones leads Elanga into battle

Further representing old meets new, the rarely-seen Phil Jones teamed up with Anthony Elanga and took matters into his own hands as they found themselves in the middle of a keep-ball drill. Elanga is set to compete with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford for a place in the United line-up on Saturday afternoon, while Jones will have to make do with a comfy seat on the bench as Victor Lindelof – you would expect – partners Harry Maguire in the backline. But did Jones win this ball off Mejbri?

Phil Jones takes matters into his own hands when challenging Hannibal Mejbri.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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