Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his returning international players that they risk missing the start of the Premier League season if unfit.
Many of the Red Devils’ stars are already back in training but some involved in Euro 2020 are still absent. Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho will return at the start of next week. France star Paul Pogba and Brazil’s Fred have also enjoyed an extended holiday after their summer exploits.
Fred was a member of the Brazil side that made it to the Copa America final. He played the first 45 minutes of the showpiece, with the Selecao losing 1-0 to Argentina.
Pogba had high hopes of winning the European Championship with Les Bleus but France lost to Switzerland in the quarter-finals. The players will all be back at Carrington on Monday to begin preparations for the big kick-off on August 14.
United open their campaign at home to Leeds United. Solskjaer does not know what condition his top men will be in when he sees them.
And he issued a stark warning that they could be sidelined if they do not meet the required standard.
“With the boys who’ve not come back yet, I’ve not got a Scooby-Doo how they are fitness wise,” he told reporters. “Everyone’s due in on Monday, they’ve got two weeks until the first game and that means it’s three weeks since their last game – Fred at the Copa America and the English finalists.
“So we’ll see how they are, what fitness levels they’re at, because it’s also down to what they’ve done during the holidays. I can’t just throw them in if they’re not fit enough.”
Solskjaer hopes for Pogba extension
Pogba’s future is never far from the headlines surrounding United. His second stint at the Theatre of Dreams has not been a complete success.
There have been glimpses of his undoubted talent but he was in the wilderness with Jose Mourinho at the helm. The former Juventus man seems happier under Solskjaer but rumours persist that he wants to move on.
His agent, Mino Raiola, appeared to fan the flames this week. He offered Liverpool the chance to sign the midfielder, according to Le10 Sport.
The Frenchman’s contract expires next summer and the Norwegian has confirmed dialogue is under way.
“Talks are ongoing between Paul’s representative and the club representatives all the dialogue I’ve had with Paul is that he’s looking forward to the season,” Solskjaer said at the weekend.