Date: 4th February 2022 at 10:07am
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Manchester United return to action for the first time in 13 days as they welcome Middlesbrough to Old Trafford in the FA Cup Fourth Round. 

The Red Devils went into the mid-season break in good spirits following a late win against top-four rivals West Ham United.

Marcus Rashford’s stoppage time winner secured a vital three points which extended Ralf Rangnick’s side’s unbeaten run to four matches and took them back into the Champions League spots.

Despite not yet blowing teams and supporters away with performances since his appointment, the German boss has lost just one of his 10 games in charge at Old Trafford to date.

Ahead of Friday’s clash against Championship Middlesbrough, Rangnick has some decisions to make as to who will be in his starting line-up.

Here we predict who will be in the United XI as they look to advance in a tournament they last won under the management of Louis van Gaal in 2016.

Ralf Rangnick has made a steady start to his United tenure.

Goalkeeper: Despite having potential loan moves blocked in the January transfer window, Dean Henderson may even have to settle for a place on the bench even in cup ties. David de Gea‘s form has been so good this term that he’s virtually undroppable, especially when this is United’s best chance of ending a five-year trophy drought this season.

Defenders: Harry Maguire returned to the XI to help keep a clean sheet against West Ham United, and, with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly sidelined, the England international should carry on alongside Raphael Varane. Luke Shaw is back from injury and expected to start, especially as Alex Telles only returned from international duty a couple of days ago. Meanwhile, Diogo Dalot should keep his place on the right side having done well in Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s injury absence.

Midfielders: The headline news for United comes in the middle of the park as Paul Pogba is expected to return for the first time since suffering a calf injury in November. Scott McTominay should start alongside the Frenchman while Bruno Fernandes will operate in his more advanced midfield role.

Forwards: Due to Mason Greenwood’s well documented exclusion and Jesse Lingard being given the match off after missing out on a Deadline Day move, Marcus Rashford – after his late winner last time out – and Jadon Sancho could occupy the flanks. This means Anthony Elanga dropping to the substitutes’ bench after starting the last three games. Cristiano Ronaldo should start up top as he looks to end a three-game wait without a goal.

Man Utd predicted XI: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes; Sancho, Rashford; Ronaldo.

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