Such has been the lack of squad depth at Manchester United in recent years, it’s strange to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer afforded the luxury of choosing from three players for one position.
But in Brandon Williams, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young, the United boss has three viable options to start at left-back against Everton on Sunday.
In a game that could see the Reds move to within two points of the Champions League places, most of the team picks itself. However, as of yet no-one has cemented their slot at left-back in Solskjaer’s preferred side.
Brandon Williams’ rise to first-team prominence has been quite remarkable given he wasn’t even named in the touring party to Australia and Asia this summer. The 19-year-old has stepped up in Luke Shaw’s absence and put in several credible performances in defence. He was unlucky to be left out of the winning sides against Tottenham and Manchester City last week, but is still getting plenty of game time under Solskjaer. Williams started at left-back in United’s 4-0 blitz against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday.
Meanwhile, club captain Ashley Young started at right-back in Thursday’s Europa League game, allowing Aaron Wan-Bissaka a deserved rest. Young’s performances have improved this season, and his rare goal against Alkmaar will no doubt give him more confidence going into the festive fixtures.
The fact that Young and Williams both started and Shaw was left out of the squad entirely against Alkmaar leads us to believe that Solskjaer will opt with the 24-year-old against Everton on Sunday.
Shaw was Solskjaer’s first-choice left-back going into the campaign, but again has been hampered by injuries. Many were surprised to see him get the nod against Manchester City, but he justified his selection by coping well with the threat of Bernardo Silva down the right-flank and looking positive in possession. Shaw defended valiantly at the Etihad but understandably looked leggy with the introduction of Riyad Mahrez causing him problems in the latter stages.
We expect Shaw to start against Duncan Ferguson’s side at Old Trafford but Solskjar will no doubt be rotating his left-back options over the busy Christmas period.