Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all available for selection ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Newcastle United on Saturday.
Pogba has missed 12 games with a hamstring injury and spent the international break training with the reserves alongside Rojo, who completed 45 minutes for the Under 23s earlier this week.
Zlatan, meanwhile, has been sidelined since April with knee ligament damage but was seen going through some shooting drills earlier this month.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference, confirmed that the trio had recovered in time to feature against Rafa Benitez’s men.
“All three selected for the match,” he said. “Paul, you can see that there was and – now I can speak because he’s back – but you can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul injury and after Paul injury.
“There are qualities in our football that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba, that’s as simple as that. Zlatan last season, we played with him every minute almost until he was injured, this season we learn how to play without him but he’s a very important player for us and of course welcome back.
“Of course, an incredible personality to fight such an important injury, we were all saying in 2017 he will be back but one thing is 31 December 2017 and another thing is mid-November,” he said.
“He was as an injured player the same super pro he is when he’s fit. So fantastic work, same as Marcos, is an important injury too, a big surgery, he played with the young boys on Wednesday and is fine, is confident, is also ready.
“Paul is obviously not the same dimension, was not a surgical situation but was also bad and all three are back.”
Finally, some genuinely positive injury news. Following a month of big players missing important games and others picking up minor niggles on the way, the mood ahead of the December period feels unimaginably different already.
They will not just supplement the strength and fluidity of United’s play; their returns to the squad will engender a sense of wholeness, of proper full strength, that Mourinho didn’t even have when his side was dispatching lesser sides in September.
Needless to say, the galvanising effect this will have on the team’s overall confidence and their diversity on the pitch cannot be underestimated.
United are back to full strength at the perfect time.