The Race to Fitness for the Premier League

Pre-season means a lot more to players and managers than fans. For players, it’s probably the best chance they have to move up in the depth charts of their respective clubs without having to rely on other players being injured, suspended, or transferred. For defenders Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, and Ashley Young, this summer is important for them and their futures at the club. None of them are strangers to injuries, so while that could be a sign of concern for Jose Mourinho, it also shows that they have the determination and ability to come back stronger than before.

If that weren’t the case, Mourinho likely would not have included them in the tour squad in the first place. Their inclusion also fulfills another important aspect of the Manchester United atmosphere as mentioned by former player Bojan Djordjic when he spoke to the club’s official website, saying:

“If you are going to win titles you need everybody on board. The 25th player in the squad should be as important as the first. That is how you build a team. Team spirit and bonding is very important, and it’s important to have a laugh. I know that everybody wants to play, but everybody also wants to be a part of Manchester United.”

Mourinho is a manager who understands how important the whole squad is for a congested fixture list, having spent many a press conference expressing his discontent towards fixture congestion. It’s an occupational hazard for a club like Manchester United that is built to compete in almost every competition available to them in any given season. As previously said, this trio’s inclusion is a positive sign because Mourinho has not given up on them.

However, the likelihood that either of them sees any time on the pitch in this tour is low. Marcos Rojo’s ACL injury was three months ago but those could still last a little longer. Luke Shaw’s foot and Ashley Young’s hamstring injuries aren’t quite as bad as ACL tears but are more recent. Given the technology and treatment options in UCLA, the recovery time could potentially even decrease. The race to be fit at the start of the premier league season is on. I am not saying anything can or should be rushed, but the longer the season goes on the more difficult it will be to fight their way into key roles. That shouldn’t be a problem because all United players are fighters and they are no exception. I wish those boys the best in their recovery and Manchester United a successful preseason with no further significant injuries.


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