How Man Utd could line up under Rangnick

Martin Macdonald
Cristiano Ronaldo, Man Utd v Man CIty, 2021-22

Manchester United have announced the signing of Ralf Rangnick as their new interim manager, replacing sacked boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

When the Norwegian was dismissed following an appalling run of results and performances, Man Utd confirmed they would be looking for a new manager to take them until the end of the season.

Rangnick is the man they targeted, with Mauricio Pochettino allegedly the preferred choice for the permanent role from 2022 onwards.

The German has a stellar reputation within European football at a coaching level as well as a sporting development and scouting level.

He knows what he wants, and likes his teams to play a certain way.

So, how will he field his Man Utd XI when everyone is fit?

Rangnick's Man Utd staring XI

David de Gea is the undisputed number one at Manchester United now despite Dean Henderson feature at points last season.

Despite Harry Maguire's horrendous 2021/22 campaign so far, he remains the club captain and will likely be part of Rangnick's plans alongside Raphael Varane.

As for right-back, Rangnick may desire a change as Aaron Wan-Bissaka continues to disappoint, especially with the ball at his feet.

He has always been poor going forward, but now he has allowed defensive mistakes to creep into his game, and when that happens there's no point in him being there.

Diogo Dalot may not be a long term solution, but he can be one for now.

At left-back, Alex Telles may actually be preferred to Luke Shaw as Rangnick has previously questioned whether Shaw was good enough to play for Man Utd. He may reserve judgment for the training pitch, though.

Man Utd XI under Rangnick

According to Opta: "Under Ralf Rangnick in 2018-19, the average starting distance of RB Leipzig’s sequences of play was 43.1 metres from their own goal; only Bayern Munich initiated their open play sequences further away from their goal on average (45.1)"

His teams press high with a very, very high defensive line.

Rangnick wants energy in the middle of the pitch which is why Fred and Scott McTominay will likely continue, though Bruno Fernandes could be asked to play slightly deeper in a midfield three as the German goes for a 4-3-3.

Paul Pogba's time at the club appears to be up, so he may be left on the sidelines.

It would take a very brave man to drop Cristiano Ronaldo out of the team, but the Portuguese superstar has been grabbing goals. He may not start every game, but Rangnick will find a way to utilise him.

The best way to utilise Ronaldo would be to have speedy wingers on either side, which is where Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho come in. Mason Greenwood will see plenty of game time, too, as will Edinson Cavani.