Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has sprung a surprise in his Manchester United line-up to face old rivals Leeds United this afternoon.
Daniel James, who famously almost joined Leeds before his Old Trafford switch, will start his first game since the draw against Chelsea on October 24.
The Welshman will start his fourth Premier League game of the season on the right-flank alongside Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in attack.
Paul Pogba drops to the bench despite an impressive display against Sheffield United as the energetic double midfield pivot of Scott McTominay and Fred return.
David de Gea returns in goal ahead of Dean Henderson and Luke Shaw comes in at left-back for Brazilian Alex Telles.
Solskjaer has opted for a team he feels can counteract Marcelo Bielsa’s relentless pressing style and he will hope his five changes can make the difference.
But if things aren’t quite going to plan, the Norwegian has an excess of talent on the bench, including Pogba, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Donny van de Beek.
See the team news in full below, courtesy of United’s official twitter page:
🚨 Reds, this is how we'll line up at Old Trafford this afternoon 📋
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 20, 2020
Daniel James a surprise selection from Solskjaer. First start since draw with Chelsea on Oct. 24. Wanted by Leeds in the summer and interested again ahead of January window.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) December 20, 2020
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; James, Fernandes, Martial; Rashford
Fred + McTominay return to bring 'the energy'. James in against his old team 😏@TheAthleticUK
Match discussion below 👇🏻https://t.co/ITJ6i5q7BY
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) December 20, 2020
Did not see that coming!!!! Dan James out from the cold and Pogba benched!!! No surprises with McTominay and Fred coming in along with Shaw!. Ole must be trying to show Leeds what they're missing out on by not having James LOL!!!! Ole clearly expecting James to run his arse off!!
— 🔰 Flex 🔰 (@FlexUTD) December 20, 2020
Dan James running into space when we transition: pic.twitter.com/xst0DnfZzI
— UtdArena (@utdarena) December 20, 2020
— Dominic Booth (@DomBooth19) December 20, 2020
What the hell is going on here. Daniel James starts out of nowhere for what reason?! Ole has an awful tendency to do this and cost us points, I imagine it’ll be the case again now. Uber defensive midfield as per us usual when Ole gets scared. #mufc https://t.co/MtusDhbhCT
— Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786) December 20, 2020
If he’s ever going to play well for us then this is the game for him. Leeds leave a lot of space in behind where he can exploit it
— Ryan. 🔴 (@Vintage_Utd) December 20, 2020
This is a great game for James. His tracking back will be immensely important. Plus there will tons of space to exploit behind them. If James takes his chance, this will be a tactical masterclass.
— gandharv chawla (@gandharv17) December 20, 2020