Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s selection gamble proves Man Utd squad depth has limits

Man Utd were held by Everton at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made five changes to his starting XI that saw Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho all benched

Manchester United v Everton: Match in pictures

Manchester United have picked up just one point from the last six available in the Premier League after they were held by Everton.

Aston Villa grabbed all three points at Old Trafford last weekend and the Toffees have again taken points off the Red Devils.

Sandwiched in-between those results was a Champions League performance that prompted more questions than answers, despite a last-gasp victory.

So to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shuffle the pack for a game that will linger for a fortnight due to the international break was a surprise.

Naming Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench always raises eyebrows, but Solskajer also had the likes of Jadon Sancho and Paul Pogba alongside him.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shuffled his pack but saw his side drop points

Elsewhere, Victor Lindelof filled in due to Harry Maguire’s injury, leaving United’s starting XI with a second-string feel.

Solskjaer can push the case for all his players, but if United were in a cup final tomorrow, we all know – perhaps with the exception of one or two areas – what the XI would look like.

Rotation comes at a cost. Yes it keeps your players fresh, but with an international break around the corner why not just let the players empty their tanks?

Instead, Solskjaer’s side leave Old Trafford with a relatively-energised squad – but two points worse off.

To name players on the bench and bring many of them on midway through the second half makes you wonder why the Norwegian didn’t simply start with them.

Anthony Martial was able to take his chance with a first-half strike that will do his confidence the world of good.

The Frenchman had spurned several opportunities to impress this term so it was vital he underlined what he can offer.

Edinson Cavani was hooked before the hour mark without making much of an impression whilst Mason Greenwood was unable to add to his tally.

The United youngster has started the season impressively and many will argue he should form part of United’s first choice front three.

Few though would argue the same about Cavani or Martial.

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Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the subs

Ronaldo’s march down the tunnel at full-time told you everything you needed to know about the atmosphere.

It only takes the slightest drop-off in quality for teams in the top flight to take advantage and Everton’s players will no doubt have been lifted seeing Ronaldo’s name amongst the substitutes.

Solskjaer has a squad bursting with quality, so he has the luxury of rotating in a way many managers don’t. However, there is a time and a place.

Taking on an impressive Everton side whilst you’re in need of a morale-boosting win was probably not the time to exercise the depth of your squad.

Now United could find themselves further off the pace when they return to face Leicester City in a fortnight.

Solskjaer claimed he needed to “freshen it up”, but surely not if points are at risk. United are not yet at a level of confidence, nor performance, where they can produce like sides of the past minus their best players.

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