How is the United squad shaping up for Saturday?
The final international break of 2018 is over and Jose Mourinho is busy preparing his Manchester United squad for Saturday’s return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
Twelve Reds were called up for their respective national sides to take part in a series of UEFA Nations League, Africa Cup of Nations and friendly matches, while several other squad members remained at the Aon Training Complex.
Here’s the latest update on the squad before the weekend…
David De Gea took part in Spain’s 3-2 defeat to Croatia last Thursday, but was rested for the 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday. That break from action will surely benefit the 28-year-old, who is the only United player to have played every minute of Premier League action this season.
Elsewhere, Sergio Romero was an unused substitute for both of Argentina’s victories against Mexico.
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Victor Lindelof was substituted at half-time of Sweden’s 1-0 win over Turkey due to illness, but the 24-year-old returned against Russia to complete a full 90 minutes and score in a 2-0 victory.
Antonio Valencia also got on the scoresheet for Ecuador in a 2-0 victory over Peru and, with Luke Shaw suspended for the match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the club captain could return to the starting XI after seven games out, with Ashley Young presumably set to start at left-back.
Diogo Dalot could potentially play at right-back against the Eagles as well, after the Portuguese youngster tweeted that he is ready to help the team again. He was duly pictured in training on Tuesday morning, alongside his fellow long-time absentees Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones.
Meanwhile, back on the international break, centre-back Eric Bailly did not feature as Ivory Coast drew 1-1 with Guinea to secure their place in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Questions surround Paul Pogba’s availability after the thigh injury that ruled him out of the Manchester derby then prevented him from joining the France squad.
Marouane Fellaini was omitted from the Belgium squad over the break but has been pictured training with his team-mates this week – sporting a new haircut - which naturally bodes well.
Nemanja Matic enjoyed a winning return to the Serbia fold after missing the last internationals through injury, after the Serbs picked up a 2-1 victory over Montenegro.
Scott McTominay also made two cameo appearances with Scotland, who sealed a UEFA Nations League play-off position with a 4-0 victory over Albania and 3-2 triumph over Israel.
Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira and Fred all look ready for action after their periods of rest over the break.
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Jesse Lingard scored a beautiful goal during England’s 3-0 win over the USA, when Wayne Rooney made his final international appearance, before our no.14 netted a more significant strike in the Nations League victory against Croatia.
Marcus Rashford featured in both games, but he 20-year-old appeared to hobble off five minutes before Lingard’s equaliser on Sunday.
Romelu Lukaku was selected for the Belgium squad but did not feature in their 2-0 friendly victory over Iceland, or the 5-2 Nations League defeat to Switzerland, due to a a reported hamstring issue.
Anthony Martial was selected for France for the first time in eight months but pulled out alongside Pogba due to injury. Our October Player of the Month has netted six goals in his last five matches and was encouragingly pictured in training on Tuesday morning, which suggests he is available to face Palace.
Alexis Sanchez scored two goals in as many matches for Chile, during a defeat to Costa Rica and win over Honduras. It remains to be seen when he will return.