Manchester United players were away on an international break over the past few weeks as many national teams took their final chance to prepare ahead of the World Cup and also to compete in the Nations League. However, their fortunes while away have been mixed.
So let’s take a look at United’s winners and losers during the international break:
Despite Portugal failing to qualify for the finals of the Nations League, it was an international break to remember for Dalot. The Portuguese right-back scored a brace in the side’s 4-0 win against the Czech Republic, the second of which was a fantastic finish with his weak foot from outside the box.
Dalot told UEFA.tv after the game: ‘It’s an unbelievable feeling to score for the first time for the senior national team of Portugal.” He then went on to emphasise that the goals were from the whole team and that he wouldn’t have been able to score them alone.
When Maguire was called up to the England squad, many eyebrows were raised since the defender had not featured in the starting XI for United since their 4-0 loss to Brentford. He started both games as England were relegated from their Nations League group, but he can not take all the blame for the disappointing results.
It seems that even playing for the international side Maguire can not escape the criticism that has been haunting him at a club level. Hopefully, the English defender will refind his form soon and play his way back into the mind of Erik ten Hag and secure his World Cup place.
England’s woes, however, may be Rashford’s gain. Before their 3-3 draw with Germany, England had failed to score in over 450 minutes under Southgate.
The English forward has started the season well, scoring three goals in the Premier League and his ability to thrive on the counter could serve England well, especially if they continue to sit back under Southgate. Only time will tell, however, whether the 24-year-old is selected in the final squad ahead of the World Cup.
The Portuguese forward has only scored one goal so far this season; a penalty against Sheriff Tiraspol. And his bad luck continued on international duty as he failed to score in either of Portugal’s games.
With a 1-0 loss against Spain, Portugal failed to qualify for the Nations League final, meaning that Ronaldo has lost to chance to compete for another piece of silverware this season. At 37 he doesn’t have that many opportunities left.
All in all, it has been a good international break for Ten Hag, as his players managed to navigate the fixtures without picking up any injuries. Many fans expected Raphael Varane to suffer injury but luckily the French defender, who has been a key part of the club’s resurgence in form in recent weeks, was able to stay fit.
With a packed fixture list ahead, Ten Hag will need as many bodies as he can to navigate it successfully, so this can be considered a win for the Dutch manager.