The past few weeks have been some of the hardest for Manchester United and its fans in recent memory. After defeat to Leicester City, a complete embarrassment of a 5-0 defeat against rivals Liverpool, and a poor display and loss in the Manchester derby, the club feels as unstable at present as it ever has since Sir Alex Fergusons retirement.
However, players now have the international break, two weeks away from club football, this piece will examine just why this period may be the most crucial yet in United’s season.
Most crucially, international breaks give players the opportunity to find form they may have been missing at club level, of course this only concerns players who have been called up to play for their national team.
A player this may well apply to is United captain and England centre back Harry Maguire; since seemingly being rushed back from injury for the Leicester game, as reported by the Mail Online, Maguire has been a shadow of the player fans know he can be, at fault for goals against Liverpool and Manchester City, as well as looking generally off the pace.
For England, however, Maguire often plays some of his best football, being a crucial player is England’s deep run in the Euros in the summer of 2021, United fans will be hoping the captain can find his form on international duty and bring it back to Old Trafford to help a seemingly shaky defence.
Other players that will hopefully find form while away include Luke Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, and Fred. All of whom are regular starters at United and have been criticised heavily by pundits and fans for their performances in the past few weeks.
The international break also gives the manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the opportunity to re-group and decide the best way to move forward with this Manchester United squad. It gives him the opportunity to plan which formations, tactics and starting line-ups will give Manchester United the best chance at bouncing back after the international break, something they desperately need to do to save their season.
However, it must be noted, as reported by the Mail Online, that the manager was spotted flying back to Norway for a holiday with his family, this does not fill fans with hope that United players who were not called up to international duty such as Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood are receiving the correct training and tactical assurances after such woeful performances.
Of course, while this international break is crucial, it also brings its own set of issues, including players picking up injuries while on international duty. Unfortunately for United fans, this has already happened as it was reported by ESPN that within the first couple of days of training for France, Paul Pogba sustained an injury that could keep the midfielder out for two months.
Pogba is a player United fans would want to improve on international duty and return to the club at his best, instead, due to the international break, United will be without one of their most talented players, and highest paid players, for a critical point of the season.
While most football English football fans are not huge supporters of regular international breaks, there can be no doubt that for Manchester United, a break came at the right time. Fans will be hoping that fitness and form can be improved for both players away with their country, and players who are training in Manchester, ready to attack the crucial set of games ahead of them.
However, they will be wary that if any more players end up on the side-lines due to injury, those games become a much tougher task than they already are.
Written by Jennifer McCord