Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF
Jose Mourinho selected Manchester United’s youngest ever Premier League starting line-up as he rested his senior stars for Sunday’s domestic season finale against Crystal Palace.
With United due to face Ajax in the Europa League final on Wednesday, Mourinho made no attempt to conceal his desire to keep his key players fresh for the Stockholm showpiece.
United must win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
That meant Mourinho sent out an incredibly youthful starting line-up, with an average age of 22 years and 284 days, for a fixture that had little significance for either side.
Joel Pereira, a 20-year-old from Portugal, started in goal for the first time in the league, while Scott McTominay, a 20-year-old English midfielder, was handed a first league start.
Demetri Mitchell, a 20-year-old English defender, was making his United debut, and Josh Harrop, a 21-year-old English midfielder, was also given his maiden appearance.
Mourinho also selected Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who both have slightly more first-team experience than their fellow youngsters.
Sixteen-year-old Angel Gomes was on the bench and would become United’s youngest Premier League player if he came on.
Eric Bailly, who is suspended for the final, featured in United’s defence, while Paul Pogba returned to the starting line-up after the death of his father.
Wayne Rooney was named captain in what may be his last United appearance at Old Trafford amid speculation he will be sold in the close season.