Manchester United return to action on the weekend against Brighton & Hove Albion, following a successful international break for numerous Reds.
Amad made his senior debut for Ivory Coast, coming off the bench in their 3-0 win against Niger, while there was also multiple impressive performances from the international Red Devils. Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford also earned some well-deserved rest time to be in shape for the return to club football.
There were four United men on duty for England over the last two weeks – it was originally five, but Rashford was ruled out of playing in any of the three games as he is still recovering from injury. Dean Henderson was an unused substitute in all three of their matches while Nick Pope was between the sticks – however, the Burnley goalkeeper looked to be quite uncomfortable with the ball at his feet and Henderson will be confident of representing his country at Euro 2021 if he continues to prove his worth for United.
However, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire were both very impressive in their cameos for The Three Lions, with Shaw providing a lovely assist for Harry Kane against Albania, in his first start for his country since September 2018. Maguire did not only show his defensive strengths in the two appearances he made, but he also provided the late winning goal in a 2-1 victory against Poland, he struck a wonderful half-volley into the roof of the net; a finish that any striker would’ve been proud of.
Jesse Lingard also made his return to Gareth Southgate’s squad, after impressing on loan at West Ham. He started against San Marino and got an assist, he then made short cameos against Albania and Poland.
Maguire was not the only Red to score a late winner for his country, as Daniel James secured a vital 1-0 win for Wales over the Czech Republic with a rare header – Dylan Levitt also made his sixth cap for The Dragons as he played 45 minutes in their 1-0 win against Mexico. Fernandes played twice for Portugal before returning to Carrington early due to a yellow card suspension for his country – something many United fans were happy about.
Alongside Amad, Eric Bailly also featured for Ivory Coast against Niger, he started the match and was brought off 66 minutes in. His centre-back companion, Victor Lindelöf, played an important role in two clean sheets against Georgia and Kosovo for Sweden. David de Gea travelled with the Spain squad, but did not add to his 45 appearances for Luis Enrique’s side.
Meanwhile, Scott McTominay played three full matches for Scotland. He was rewarded the Man of the Match in their 2-2 draw with Austria, while also showing his versatility in their win against Faroe Islands, playing the game at centre-back and helping his side to a clean sheet. Paul Pogba also impressed while on duty with France, starting in both wins against Kazakhstan and Bosnia.
Building blocks for Martial and Van de Beek
The final two Reds who appeared for their countries have both been short of confidence in a United shirt. Donny van de Beek has struggled to get minutes this season, and when he has done, he’s not had a major impact. Anthony Martial, too, has had a difficult season, with just seven goals to his name this campaign for United.
However, both players were able to impress for their countries in the limited game time they received. In Martial’s only start during the break for Didier Deschamps’ side, against Kazakhstan, he assisted Ousmane Dembélé’s opener, with a great turn and pass, showing great centre-forward play. However, he was forced off the pitch early due to a knee injury, but Deschamps has dismissed that the injury is nothing serious.Embed from Getty Images
While van de Beek didn’t manage to start a match for the Netherlands, in his 13 minute cameo against Gibraltar, he was able to find the back of the net with a tidy finish after he found space inside of the area.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær will be hoping that both Martial and van de Beek can take some confidence from their performances for their countries and bring that back to the club. The Frenchman, especially, will need to find form for United as the season comes to a close as he will be desperate for Solskjær to keep faith with him.