Manchester United’s starting XI to face Burnley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday will very much depend on how much recovery time their World Cup participants are given.
Almost certain to miss the tie are Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, who were involved in the final of the Qatar tournament on Sunday.
But with the remaining internationals set to rejoin training on Monday, the big question is whether manager Erik ten Hag will consider that sufficient preparation for the Burnley clash.
If he does, then we expect him to field a strong side.
Diogo Dalot is a doubt after appearing to sustain a hamstring injury in Portugal’s quarter final tie against Morocco. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is expected to cover, although Tyrell Malacia could be deployed on the right with Luke Shaw on the left.
Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire would come in for Varane and Lisandro.
Up front, Jadon Sancho does not appear to be ready to resume, so Rashford and Antony are likely to take up the wing positions, with Antony Martial up front and Bruno Fernandes in the hole.
Casemiro and Christian Eriksen would provide the deep midfield pivot.
This is therefore our predicted XI:
However, if the World Cup returners are rested, the team would look very different. A centre back partner would need to be found for Victor Lindelof – Axel Tuanzebe is finally back in training and is the most senior, although both Tyler Fredricson and Rhys Bennett performed the role on the mini-tour to Spain last week after Teden Mengi got injured.
Brandon Williams also featured in Spain and could play left back, with the excellent Zidane Iqbal finally getting a start alongside Scott McTominay in midfield. Alejandro Garnacho, Donny van de Beek and Anthony Elanga would then support Martial up front.
This would be the likely XI in these circumstances:
Of course, a hybrid of the two teams is possible, perhaps with World Cup stars who exited at the group stages being included, in which case the likes of Christian Eriksen and Facundo Pellistri would come back into play.
It could also depend on minutes played at the World Cup, in which case players such as Fred, Antony and Marcus Rashford might need less rest than, say, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.
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