As many as fourteen Manchester United players have been called up to represent their national teams during this two weeks long break from the club games.
Here are the things to look out for during this break:
Young and Martial Earn Recall
Four United players have been called up by the England National team. Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones were called up by Gareth Southgate. Also called up was veteran Ashley Young, who has not played for his country since 2013. His terrific performances in recent week have rewarded him with a confidence-boosting call-up.
Elsewhere, Anthony Martial also received a well-deserved call-up by the France National team. The forward had not been included in the national squad for the past four international games by Didier Deschamps, but his game-changing performances at club level means that he is in line to face Wales this week and Germany at the start of next week.
Darmian and Lindelof to face each other
Defenders Matteo Darmian and Victor Lindelof are set to go head-to-head for their countries as Italy and Sweden contest a World Cup Play Off. Both players are important members for their respective teams, and are expected to start, despite not playing enough games for United in recent weeks.
The first leg on Friday sees Sweden hosting Italy at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where United lifted the Europa League title last term, while the return fixture takes place at the San Siro on Monday evening.
Fellaini, Pogba and Zlatan step up their recovery
Marouane Fellaini made his return from injury in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, but wasn’t deemed fit enough by Belgian boss Roberto Martinez. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both stepped up their training regimes, and as Jose Mourinho confirmed on Sunday, both are expected to be ready to face Newcastle United in the Premier League when the international break ends. The return of the star duo will be a timely boost for the Red Devils, who will now enter the gruelling Winter schedule better equipped than before.
Three Glamourous Friendlies, Among many others
Three glamourous friendlies will take place this week, as England host World Cup winners Germany and then Brazil at the Wembley Stadium. Joachim Low’s Germany then take on France next Tuesday.
In other friendlies, Romelu Lukaku’s Belgium take on Japan and Mexico, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan will represent Armenia against Belarus and Cyprus. Nemanja Matic’s Serbia take on China and South Korea, David De Gea’s Spain take on Costa Rica and Russia, while Sergio Romero’s Argentina face Nigeria and World Cup 2018 hosts Russia. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, out on loan at Crystal Palace, who was initially named in the U-21’s, has been promoted to the senior squad, and he and Daley Blind will represent Netherlands against both Scotland and Romania.
Eric Bailly is suspended and will therefore miss Ivory Coast’s crucial World Cup Play Off against Morocco, as the Elephants look to qualify for the fourth consecutive World Cup.