Rangnick issues fitness update ahead of Newcastle clash

Ralf Rangnick has conducted his pre-match press conference ahead of Manchester United’s trip to Newcastle on December 27.

The briefing was streamed at 3.30pm on United’s official app and Rangnick was asked about the fitness of his squad ahead of their return to action.

He underlined the scale of the improvement in the Covid situation at the club following the postponement of the games against Brentford and Brighton.

Rangnick said that Paul Pogba has been the only absentee from full training this week, which resumed on Tuesday.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

“We had last week, the last training session on Thursday, on that day we had eight outfield players and three goalkeepers and then we closed down the training ground for four days in order to break the chain,” he said.

“Today was the third day of training this week, we started on Tuesday, we trained yesterday and today. Today we had 25 outfield players. Paul Pogba is the only one missing, everyone else was on board. The development in the last week was extremely positive.”

“As far as I could see in training today, they are all in good shape. They did their homework, they all have their schedules to train at home and they stuck to that schedule and programme.

“From what I saw, I can say most of them, if not all of them, might be available, and of course I would have to take some difficult decisions as to who will be in the squad, who will be in the starting XI.”

Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

That means that Edinson Cavani, Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are all seemingly back from injury and in contention for selection.

The enforced break has perhaps allowed those players an opportunity to continue their recovery without being rushed to be easy for a game.

It will be a busy festive period and United will need the full extent of their squad so Rangnick will hope to ease those returning injured players back into action.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.