Manchester United take on West Ham United on Saturday knowing they still have a lot to prove despite their recent 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.
That remains Louis van Gaal’s only competitive win since taking charge of the club, and the 5-3 debacle against Leicester City last time out has eradicated the belief of many that the all-star summer signings can fire United back up the table.
With the club hosting a West Ham side who have impressed so far this season, plenty of van Gaal’s players will have to step up but here are the three with the most to prove:
United are in the midst of a defensive crisis that could get even worse if reports regarding Chris Smalling’s injury prove to be true. The England international could be missing on Saturday, along with the suspended Tyler Blackett and the side-lined Jonny Evans and Phil Jones.
If that is the case, Rojo will be United’s only fit senior centre-back, and even if Smalling does make it, Rojo has a lot to prove to those who believe he is a far better left-back than he is a central defender.
Stability is the name of the game, and United had little of that against Leicester.
The England international is finally set for his competitive debut, with Rojo shifted to the centre and Shaw playing in his natural position on the left. He was supposed to be United’s next great full-back, but reports claim van Gaal has not been impressed and the teenager is stepping into a back-line shorn of confidence and leadership.
He needs to show what he can do on a consistent basis and he will want that to start against the Hammers.
The captain has to stand up and be counted. He was everywhere against Leicester but rarely in the right place at the right time in the second half.
While Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao are going to be relied upon to score the majority of United’s goals this season, Rooney must prove to van Gaal that he can be just as effective in that area while also keeping his side ticking over further back on the pitch.
Rooney is the leader of this team now, and he must prove he can inspire them to overcome their difficulties as soon as possible.