World Cup quartet bolster Jose's options
Jose Mourinho will have four more players to work with when United resume training in Manchester after the US tour.
Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof will link up with the team-mates who flew back to the UK immediately after the 2-1 win over Real Madrid in Miami in our final match of Tour 2018, presented by Aon.
The quartet were involved in the latter rounds of the World Cup after Belgium, England and Sweden all advanced from the group stage in Russia. Lukaku played against both Rashford and Jones in the final weekend of the tournament as the Belgians beat the Three Lions 2-0 in the third-place play-off.
The fact the players have cut their holidays short to join the rest of their team-mates ahead of Sunday’s final pre-season fixture against Bayern Munich is undoubtedly a huge boost for the Reds, who have had to contend with the absence of several first-team players during the US tour.
Speaking after Tuesday night’s victory over European champions Real, the boss told reporters in his post-match press conference:
“My players were amazing in their effort but we have more effort in front of us because in a few days we go to Munich and in 10 days we start the Premier League.
“We will have [Victor] Lindelof who started training two days ago, plus Marcus Rashford, Jones and Lukaku because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays so they are coming back three days early to try to be available for the team.
“We have the fantastic spirit we have in the majority of the players – I repeat in the majority of the players, we have a fantastic spirit. We go with everything we have to the Premier League.”
Jose feels the returning players will play an integral part as the Reds step up preparations for the Premier League opener against Leicester City at Old Trafford next Friday, 10 August.
“As I was saying to the players, some of my players will be in an amazing condition,” he said.
“Imagine Alexis Sanchez fresh, the way the man is running after playing four matches [of] 90 minutes.
“I think he’s in a fantastic condition, so let’s look at it from the positive point of view and wait for Lindelof, Lukaku, Rashford and Jones who are going to be important players for us.
“[They are] not prepared, but they will be back and when we are in trouble, they will help us and that’s the spirit we need because I think our first three weeks in the Premier League – Leicester, Brighton, Tottenham – will be really hard for us because we didn’t prepare for that, but that’s what it is.”