Man Utd’s defensive XI if Gareth Southgate replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager

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Manchester United, we’ll make clear, aren’t planning on sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just yet. The Red Devils have failed to win four of their last matches across all competitions – which has led to some calls for the Norwegian to go. But they’ve previously been linked with Gareth Southgate, so Express Sport will now take a look at how they’d line up with the England boss in charge.

Goalkeeper: De Gea

Southgate has faced big questions over Jordan Pickford throughout his time as England manager.

But, no matter the shot-stopper’s form at Everton, he’s always persevered with the 27-year-old.

So it’s likely he’d stick with David De Gea if he was ever to become United manager.

The Spain international looked likely to be sold in the summer after struggling last term, as well as toiling in the Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

But he’s since bounced back to prove he’s the right No 1 at the current moment in time.

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Defence: Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Varane, Shaw

Southgate likes to go with five at the back for England.

That’s been his favoured approach ever since he replaced Sam Allardyce and, so far, those tactics have worked.

So if he took charge of United, he may go with a centre-back trident consisting of Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.

At right wing-back, Aaron Wan-Bissaka would get into the side.

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And Luke Shaw would too, with the England international now fully back to his best after previously suffering under Jose Mourinho.

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Midfield: Fred, McTominay

Paul Pogba is a popular player under Solskjaer but, under Southgate, he may find himself on the bench.

And that’s because of the England manager’s insistence of playing with two holding midfielders, like he did at the Euros in the summer.

Therefore, it’s definitely easy to imagine him going with Fred and Scott McTominay.

It’s a partnership that has, on some occasions, failed to work.

But Solskjaer rates both players and Southgate, who has regularly deployed Kalvin Phillips alongside Declan Rice, may feel similarly.

Attack: Fernandes, Ronaldo, Sancho

Southgate wouldn’t dare drop Cristiano Ronaldo, no matter the attacking talent he’d have at his disposal.

But he may have to get creative when it comes to cramming in superstars at Old Trafford.

Southgate could potentially use Bruno Fernandes as a No 10, like he is now.

Then, he’d possibly have Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho as wide forwards.

That would mean Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, two players to have featured under Southgate at international level, having to accept time on the bench.

So what is United’s current standing?

United chief John Murtough made it abundantly clear last week that the club were behind Solskjaer for the long-term, even with current results leaving much to be desired.

“We’re aiming for consistency and continuity in recruitment,” he said.

“We have a full process in place, making sure we’re planned in what we do.

“Squad development is never-ending and constantly evolving. We’re sitting down with Ole and we’re talking about future plans in terms of where the squad will go and how we think it will develop.

“We want to balance squads with the right profile in terms of positions and in terms of age.

“The current squad has good balance with young, exciting players coming through, and those in the middle in the prime of their careers.

“And then you’ve the more experienced group – we can learn a lot from them, and they’re already having an impact on some of the younger players.

“We want a squad that can challenge today but also in the future as well.”

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