Paul Mullin's injury is a disaster! Six things we learned as Wrexham take down young Man Utd side 3-1 after star striker left with punctured lung

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Wrexham Man Utd composite
The Welsh side comfortably beat a young United team, but the win was tainted by the striker suffering a punctured lung in San Diego

It may only have been the youngsters, but Wrexham's players will always remember the day they outclassed Manchester United. The Red Dragons overpowered the Red Devils in San Diego, leaving with a well deserved 3-1 win.

However, the game threatened to be overshadowed by the sight of Paul Mullin writhing in agony on the floor after being brutally knocked over by United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop. Mullin eventually got up and was able to walk off the pitch, with fans chanting his name and booing Bishop for his over-the-top challenge. After the game, coach Phil Parkinson revealed Mullin had suffered a punctured lung, confirming fears that he would miss the start of the League Two season.

Wrexham barely missed Mullin for the rest of the game, though, as Elliot Lee and Aaron Hayden struck twice in the first half after United failed to deal with the League Two side's crosses into the box.

United, who were fielding their Under-21s side with the exception of veteran Jonny Evans, pulled a goal back before half-time through Spanish teenager Marc Jurado, but were then reduced to 10 men early in the second half when captain Dan Gore was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Andy Cannon.

Wrexham changed their entire outfield line up for the second half, but their substitutes made the most of their numerical advantage as Sam Dalby made sure of the victory.

GOAL looks at what we learned during the clash at the Snapdragon Stadium...

  1. Mullin injury an unmitigated disaster for Wrexham

    Mullin injury an unmitigated disaster for Wrexham

    It is no exaggeration to say that, with United fielding a team compromising of U21 players (not including Evans), Mullin was the player the majority of fans would have been most looking forward to watching live.

    The striker is one of the stars of 'Welcome to Wrexham' and scored a stunning 47 goals last season in all competitions to help secure promotion. But he only lasted 12 minutes on the pitch here after being cleaned out by United 'keeper Bishop.

    The injury looked to be serious as Mullin stayed down on the floor for several minutes and needed medical attention, including being made to wear an oxygen mask. There was some relief when he was able to get back on his feet and walk off the pitch to be substituted, but he was quickly taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a punctured lung.

    Missing their star man for the start of their first season back in the Football League for 15 years was the last thing Wrexham needed, and the injury threatens to taint what has been an enormously successful tour.

  2. You'll win nothing with (just) kids

    You'll win nothing with (just) kids

    As was to be expected due to Wednesday's match against Real Madrid, United fielded their U21 side here, and while some of the players who lined up were already part of Erik ten Hag's squad for the tour, 15 flew in for this game alone.

    The team fielded by U21s coach Travis Binnion still contained some high-profile players such as Alvaro Fernandez, Hannibal Mejbri (who were both on loan at Championship sides last season) and veteran Evans, but Wrexham had far more power and experience.

    The League Two side bullied their younger opponents for much of the game and dominated them physically. The match will be a good learning experience for a lot of the United players, especially those who have only tested themselves against fellow academy sides in Premier League 2, but it was also a reality check.

    Even the youngsters of Manchester United cannot really compete against a proper, hardened professional side, even one in English football's fourth tier.

  3. United taking friendlies a bit too seriously

    United taking friendlies a bit too seriously

    Lisandro Martinez sparked an on-field clash in United's first match in the United States against Arsenal with a crunching tackle on Bukayo Saka, showing the Red Devils were taking the friendly deadly seriously. And Bishop's clash with Mullin seemed to underline their intentions in pre-season.

    Ten Hag, who was present at the game but left Binnion in charge, wants the team to make the most of the pre-season tour and has prioritised training over commercial activities. He was pleased with the intensity his side showed against Arsenal.

    Opposition players and coaches, however, might feel differently about the Red Devils' approach in what are supposed to be warm-up games. Wrexham boss Parkinson said he was "fuming" with the Mullin injury and called Bishop's challenge "reckless" while warning him to stay away from his side's dressing room.

    Bishop was booed by a lot of fans inside the stadium after clattering into Mullin and some supporters even whistled substitute goalkeeper Radek Vitek early in the second half, not realising he had replaced Bishop.

  4. McElhenney gets pally with Ten Hag

    McElhenney gets pally with Ten Hag

    With Ryan Reynolds filming in London, Rob McElhenney was the Wrexham owners' only representative at the Snapdragon Stadium, and he made the most of the occasion by networking with key United figures.

    The 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' star enjoyed a friendly chat with Ten Hag on the pitch before kick-off and was also deep in conversation with John Murtough, United's sporting director.

    He also spoke with Denis Irwin, one of United's greatest ever full-backs and who was a key part of Sir Alex Ferguson's treble-winning side in 1999. McElhenney had previously had a hilarious interaction with Ferguson in the promotional video he filmed with Reynolds when the fixture was announced earlier this year.

  5. Tozer's missile causes havoc
    Getty Images

    Tozer's missile causes havoc

    United were the latest team to fall victim to Wrexham's throw-in expert Ben Tozer, who helped set up the Red Dragons' second goal by launching a missile into the Red Devils' area from the sideline.

    Tozer flummoxed United's young and inexperienced defence with a high ball towards the six-yard box, and even Wrexham striker Ollie Palmer was unable to judge its flight. But Hayden managed to get on the end of the cross and knock it past Bishop from close range to double Wrexham's lead.

    Tozer played a big part in Wrexham's promotion to League Two last season and became known for drying the ball with a towel before taking throw-ins. He will not be able to do the same next season, however, following a change in rules by the English Football League which prompted Tozer to joke "they're trying to ruin my career".

  6. United's Spanish connection works wonders

    United's Spanish connection works wonders

    United lined up with two Spanish defenders in either full-back position, with Fernandez on the left and Jurado on the right, and they combined to score United's only goal of the game.

    Fernandez, who had a hugely impressive season on loan with Preston North End in the Championship in 2022-23, floated in a cross to his compatriot, and the 19-year-old Jurado produced a lovely cushioned volley to pull United back into contention.

    Jurado was a key part of the United side which won the 2022 FA Youth Cup and is tipped for big things, while Fernandez must decide whether to go out on loan again or try to force his way into Ten Hag's starting XI next season.

    Both players will have their work cut out in earning a starting berth though, with Fernandez battling with Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia at left-back, and Jurado facing competition from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot on the right.