Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham were all in action in the USA on Saturday night, with a handful of players catching the eye ahead of the new Premier League seasonA busy pre-season schedule continued for a trio of Premier League sides on Saturday night as Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham all took part in friendlies in the USA.
With a number of players involved in the World Cup for all three sides, a number of younger players were given the opportunity to impress their managers - including one big-money signing.
Luke Shaw, a £28 million summer signing from Southampton, came on as a replacement for Reece James at half-time.
Compared to his positive debut, Shaw was somewhat disappointing as he only made one notable attacking run and the majority of Roma’s better opportunities came from attacks down his flank.
His performance was by no means a cause for concern, but one would be forgiven for expecting more from the Southampton youth product.
Manchester United secured a 3-2 win over Roma in their second pre-season clash and 20-year-old defender Tyler Blackett was the only player to get 90 minutes under his belt.
The physically imposing centre-back looked comfortable on the ball and, although Mattia Destro got some joy out of him in the first half, the former Blackpool loanee ultimately came out with his reputation intact, making several important blocks in the dying stages.
Reece James was one of the big surprises of United’s 7-0 mauling of LA Galaxy on Thursday, with the 20-year-old netting twice on his club debut.
The United reserve team Player of the Year started in the left wing-back slot against Roma and put in another assured display, showcasing the dogged defensive attributes that he rarely needed to reveal in the Galaxy rout.
Juan Iturbe was expected to test James, but ultimately the Argentine got little change from his counterpart.
Gedion Zelalem was one of only a couple of inexperienced faces to line up from the start for Arsenal against New York Red Bulls on Saturday.
Arsene Wenger opted for a largely established starting XI - Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla all featured in the first half - but Zelalem was given the nod.
Without a recognised striker, the likes of Zelalem, Ramsey, Rosicky and Cazorla were expected to test the Red Bulls but, despite some encouraging moments, the 17-year-old was unable to carve out a genuine scoring opportunity for himself or his side.
The frontman was charged with leading the line once more on his side’s American tour and he didn’t take long to make his mark in this one – finding the net after jut five minutes.
The 20-year-old showed good awareness to drop off and give Lewis Holtby an option after the German had picked the pocket of Fire’s Jeff Larentowicz, receiving the cutback from his team-mate and slotting beyond a stranded Sean Johnson in goal.
Kane showed a desire to submerse himself in the lone role up top, but a few wayward passes here and there saw him fail to link up effectively with Tottenham’s attacking trio of Holtby, Erik Lamela and Ryan Mason, before he was taken off at the break and replaced by Roberto Soldado.
The Serbia youth international partnered Michael Dawson at centre-back for Mauricio Pochettino’s side and looked composed as Tottenham kept their first clean sheet of their American tour.
That mix of youth and experience at the heart of the tourists’ defence was never really troubled by a lacklustre Chicago Fire attack, the 18-year-old only looking in any real difficulty when faced by the pace of Spurs loanee Grant Ward.
The Swiss-born defender lasted just over an hour at Toyota Park, gaining valuable experience and making some important tackles - most notably dispossessing Matthew Fondy as the striker bore down on Brad Friedel’s goal.