Internationals: Five things to look out for
International action begins for Manchester United tonight (Wednesday), with five players potentially on show for their respective countries.
Donny van de Beek is in the Netherlands reckoning as they face Mexico in a friendly, while David De Gea and Bruno Fernandes could go up against each other in Lisbon.
Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial will hope to be involved as France host Ukraine – and we expect there to be plenty of interest for Reds supporters over the coming seven days, with new signing Alex Telles in the picture as Brazil start their bid to qualify for the next World Cup.
Here are five things, in particular, to look out for during the international break…
A DEBUT FOR DEANO?
Dean Henderson is no stranger to the senior England set-up – he was first picked by Gareth Southgate in 2019 but, so far, has been behind Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope in the pecking order. However, with the Three Lions set to play three games in under a week and, with Henderson having impressed in his two appearances for United so far this season, the friendly against Wales – featuring the Reds’ Daniel James and Dylan Levitt – could be the perfect opportunity for the 23-year-old to be afforded his senior international bow.
SCOTT TO EDGE CLOSER TO EUROS?
Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off semi-final with Israel was originally scheduled to take place over two legs in March. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened and the sides will now go up against each other at Hampden Park over 90 minutes to see who’ll progress to face Norway or Serbia in November’s final. If you want to see whether Scott can inspire his side to take a further step towards a first major tournament in over two decades, you can watch the match live on Sky Sports.
A REUNION FOR TWO REDS?
Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku shared a friendly Twitter exchange last week, with our no.10 praising the Inter Milan forward for the selflessness he showed during our famous Champions League win in Paris in March 2019. That mutual respect may have to be toned down slightly though, when England and Belgium turn out at Wembley on Sunday in a top-of-the-table UEFA Nations League clash. The Rode Duivels have taken a maximum six points from their two games in Group A2 and saw off the Three Lions twice at the last World Cup, but have never won in England. Can Marcus, along with team-mates Henderson and Harry Maguire, maintain that proud record?
A MIDFIELD HEAD-TO-HEAD?
Nations League Group A3 is an intriguing one for Reds supporters, with three of the four nations boasting United players in their current squads. Two go up against each other next Sunday, when France host Portugal at the Stade de France (19:45 BST kick-off). Pogba and Fernandes are used to playing in the same midfield, but they’ll be on opposing sides this time and, when you throw Anthony Martial into the mix, you’ve got a very exciting-looking fixture on your hands.
Pogba's free-kick beats BrightonVideo
WILL DONNY HELP THE DUTCH GET REVENGE?
The September break provided United fans with their first chance to see new signing Donny van de Beek in action, for the Netherlands in their UEFA Nations League openers. Of course, we've become rather more acquainted with the former Ajax man in recent weeks, but it'll still be interesting to see how he gets on in the Oranje's do-or-die clash with Italy in Rome on 14 October. The Azzurri ran out 1-0 winners in the reverse fixture last month, and the Dutch know they'll need to at least avoid defeat if they are to harbour any realistic hopes of making a second successive finals tournament in this competition.
You can stay updated with how our international Reds are getting on through our dedicated live blog.