Moyes faced with depleted squad
• Manager's first game is against Singha All Star XI in Bangkok
• Danny Welbeck is the only recognised striker available
David Moyes takes charge of his first game as the Manchester United manager on Saturday evening, against the Singha All Star XI in Bangkok, with the Scot forced to draw from a squad that is severely depleted by injury and rest requirements.
Wayne Rooney, who had to fly home on Thursday due to a torn hamstring, is the biggest loss, with his departure meaning that Moyes has only one recognised striker, Danny Welbeck, to choose from. Whereas Javier Hernández has been given the whole tour off, Robin van Persie joins up next week in Sydney after international commitments, as does David de Gea, the first-choice goalkeeper and Antonio Valencia. Shinji Kagawa will not take part until the Japan leg of the tour, in a fortnight. Nemanja Vidic (sciatica), Nani (nose operation), Chris Smalling (foot) and Ashley Young (ankle rehabilitation) are all missing through injury.
Although the Singha All Stars will not provide the sternest of opposition, Moyes recognises the disruption is not ideal. "What it's going to do is give some of the younger players an opportunity to get games, some playing time," he said. "Some of the missing ones have had games for their national teams. One or two are injured but not far away. The likes of Chris Smalling and Ashley Young are not too far away.
"[It's] my first opportunity to manage the team and it will take a little bit of time to get used to each other, but that's what the games are for. We'll try and give as many people as we can an opportunity to play. We'll see some young players as well. Obviously, we'll use all the games to prepare for the start of the season."
Given the number of players missing, it will be interesting to see how Moyes sets out his first ever United team, with the Scot perhaps having to field Welbeck as a lone striker. Regarding the 22-year-old he said: "I've only seen him for a short time but I've been impressed. He looks a very good player. A lot of the things he's done have been excellent. If we can add some goals to his tally from last year it will make a big difference. From what I've seen so far he's an exciting player and someone I'm looking forward to working with."
Of his debut as manager, Moyes said: "When I first got the job I was very much aware of tour of Asia and that my first game would be in Thailand. I didn't think an awful lot about it [the game] at the time but I'm really excited about it now. I know the stadium has been sold out, you go see the amount of Manchester United supporters in Thailand so I'm looking forward to being here and hopefully it's just the first of many games to come as being Manchester United manager."
Moyes can call on Ryan Giggs, and the veteran is again excited about playing again. "Things have been going great to so far and everyone is working hard. Personally, I feel good. I shut down for about three weeks after the season finished but then started going in the gym a couple of times on holiday after that and also did a bit of swimming and a few runs. I was also in Turkey doing my coaching badges with Gary [Neville], so we were training partners, which was good.
"I enjoyed the summer and if you compare it to last year they're like chalk and cheese. It's obviously great to win the league and you can enjoy your summer knowing you're champions, but as it goes on you're itching to get back; you want that challenge again and you can't wait for the season to start. Of course, you need that rest after a tough season but two or three weeks into your holiday you're already thinking about coming back and achieving more."
Filed under: Euro 2012
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