Here is a look at the three best Manchester United players on the pitch in the 2-2 pre-season draw against Aston Villa.

United’s 100 per cent pre-season record was lost in stoppage time, but there were still some impressive performances…

Best Manchester United players against Aston Villa

Photo by Daniel Carson/Getty Images

Jadon Sancho

Sancho was the most dangerous player in a United shirt here, opening the scoring with a well-taken volley in the first half.

He then set up Marcus Rashford just before half-time and his England teammate should have made it 2-0 directly, but his skewed shot went in off Matty Cash.

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Sancho almost created a third goal, with a fizzed cross which could have led to a second own goal but for Robin Olsen.

Anthony Martial has grabbed most of the headlines up front so far, but Sancho came into his own here and more of the same would be great when the season starts.

Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images

Harry Maguire

There was one instance in the first half when Maguire strode out of defense to rob Ollie Watkins and play a penetrating pass into midfield.

Then, in the second half, Maguire sprinted back well and prevented Leon Bailey scoring a second goal of the game with a last-ditch block.

He covered well for Luke Shaw on that occasion and looks to be getting more and more confident with each passing game, despite boos from the stands.

As Erik ten Hag said, the critics will only quieten down when Maguire plays well – and plays well consistently – and this was a good start.

Photo by Matthew Ashton-AMA/Getty Images


Fred has been playing as United’s deepest midfield on tour, starting attacks and playing a good variety of short and long passes.

He covered the ground well here too, biting into challenges and putting pressure on Villa’s lively midfield, who like to play through the centre.

When he went off, Alex Telles took his place as the anchorman, which indicates United’s lack of midfield depth while we wait for movement over Frenkie de Jong.

Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day program pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.

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