Three reasons Manchester United are big winners of international break ahead of crucial month

The international break is now over, thankfully, with focus now set to return to a busy month ahead for Manchester United.

United face Manchester City on Sunday to kick off a hectic schedule with nine matches in the Premier League and Europa League.

Last season United were impacted by injuries to key players during the international break. There do not appear to be any major problems this time around.

Here is a look at three reasons United could be the big winners from this international break…

Extra defensive rest

The second half of the international break could not have gone any better. Raphael Varane was rested completely on Sunday, sitting out France’s clash with Denmark.

He is already back at Carrington, along with Tyrell Malacia, who did not start either Netherlands game.

Scott McTominay is also back at United’s training base early after being suspended for Scotland’s match with Ukraine early.

Diogo Dalot did not feature in Portugal’s second game, while Lisandro Martinez played only 12 minutes of Argentina’s win over Jamaica last night.

This means United’s entire preferred back four did not start a game over the past week, nor McTominay, who is likely to feature against City.

United’s players avoided injury risks by largely missing these fixtures, and will be feeling fresh and ready to go against a City side who may have lost defender John Stones to a hamstring issue.

Photo by MICHAL CIZEK/AFP via Getty Images

Shaw, Dalot, Casemiro and Eriksen shine

Several United’s players have used the international break positively. Not all of them – but let’s focus on the good news first.

Luke Shaw was excellent for England against Germany and got on the scoresheet for a vital confidence boost. He will have a part to play over the next month.

He was outdone by Diogo Dalot who scored two goals in Portugal’s win over Czech Republic, with Bruno Fernandes on the scoresheet too.

Casemiro also showcased his quality with a 40-yard assist for Raphinha to score in Brazil’s 5-1 victory over Tunisia. He started both games and will benefit from developing his match sharpness.

Christian Eriksen was also outstanding for Denmark, creating eight chances in their win over France, and scoring a long range goal against Croatia. His last game was on Sunday, so he has had a rest for the derby ahead.

It wasn’t all good news. Cristiano Ronaldo struggled for Portugal, while Harry Maguire was poor and made mistakes for England. There are question marks over his fitness after the game – although he is not likely to start on Sunday in any case.

Jadon Sancho rested entirely

The best news of all may be that Jadon Sancho was rested entirely throughout the international break.

Sancho has been in excellent form this season so far, scoring three goals against Liverpool, Leicester and Sheriff Tiraspol.

He will have a big role over the next month, especially with questions still emerging over Marcus Rashford’s fitness and Anthony Martial due out, while Ronaldo struggles for form.

Sancho is a locked-in starter for United this coming weekend and he will be fresh, with a extra point to prove after his unwarranted England snub.

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