Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained that Romelu Lukaku’s omission from the Red Devils’ squad to face Perth Glory is due to injury.

The Belgian has been strongly linked with a move to Italy and Antonio Conte’s Inter, but the Norwegian manager has insisted that is not the reason for the striker’s absence.

He also confirmed that three other players were in the same position and would be given the chance to recover ahead of their midweek fixture against Leeds United.

“They’re all [Lukaku, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Lee Grant] OK, just small niggles that we just want to protect today. We’ll probably see them on Wednesday, I reckon,” Solskjaer said to MUTV.

Lukaku has made no secret of his desire to move to Serie A after being usurped as first-choice striker by Marcus Rashford last season following Solskjaer’s appointment.

Despite talks having commenced, Lukaku has continued to train with the club although he misses out on featuring in Saturday’s pre-season opener against A-League side Perth Glory.

United have lined up in what appears to be a 4-2-3-1 for their first pre-season fixture, with new signing Daniel James making his first appearance for the club, while Tahith Chong is also included from the first whistle.

Solskjaer revealed that he would be making 11 changes at half-time, meaning fellow new signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka is likely to make his first appearance from the bench.

“Second half will be 11 new ones, so we’ll make all subs at half-time and then everyone gets 45 minutes, a good workout apart from the ones that have a few niggles,” Solskjaer continued.

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Axel Tuanzebe also gets a start in defence after spending last season on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship and is relishing the chance to prove himself back at his parent club.

Also speaking to MUTV, Tuanzebe said: “It’s always a great opportunity to play for the club. We’ve had a good two weeks of training and now let’s get it out on the pitch. Manchester’s always been my home, to be amongst the lads again is great. It’s time to push on and show everyone I’m ready for it. 

“Every pre-season is the same for every player to demonstrate they’re ready, I’ve worked hard in the off-season to be in this position now so let’s go out all guns blazing.”


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