With the international break under way, Manchester United will be eager to lick their wounds and move forward following what was a crushing defeat to Arsenal at the weekend.
Although the club will only return to action on September 16, there are several underperforming Man United stars who will need to prove to Erik ten Hag that they still have what it takes to be considered for a role in his starting XI when United host Brighton at Old Trafford in their next Premier League match.
Possibly one of the most shocking international call-ups is that of Harry Maguire, who was included by Gareth Southgate in the England squad despite falling out of favour with Ten Hag.
Starting just eight Premier League matches last season, the former United captain played his first 23 minutes of the current season against Arsenal, conceding two goals in his cameo. (Transfermarkt)
Still, Southgate defended his decision to select Maguire for his England squad, despite Ten Hag’s decision to strip him of the United club captaincy.
“He and John Stones has been a partnership that’s been brilliant for us,” Southgate said of Maguire, although he did not rule out the possibility that the 30 year old could lose his place in the team to younger centre-backs who are rising through the ranks.
Having helped England reach the Euro 2020 final, Maguire will be hoping to replicate this achievement as he prepares to take on Ukraine and Scotland in England’s next two Euro 2024 qualifiers.
While a regular in the Red Devils’ starting XI, winger Antony will also be looking to put in a strong performance for Brazil as they take on Bolivia and Peru in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Failing to find the back of the net so far this season and contributing just four goals and two assists in 25 league matches last season, Antony will need to prove that he is capable of delivering the final product, particularly with other eager wingers such as Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri knocking on the door.
Having long served as part of United’s regular midfield partnership alongside Fred, the Scottish international now finds himself below the likes of Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, and Mason Mount in the midfield pecking order, with new marquee signing Sofyan Amrabat only adding to the competition.
Scotland are set to play Cyprus in a Euro 2024 qualifier before facing England in a friendly and then Spain in another qualifier in what is sure to be a challenging few days.
With little chance of McTominay and Maguire featuring much in United’s lineup going forward provided that there are no more casualties added to a constantly growing injured list, international fixtures appear to be their best chance of proving that they can still deliver.
As for Antony, a change of style and pace with the Brazilian national team could provide the winger with a chance to shine and perhaps fuel Ten Hag with some fresh ideas on how to get the most out of the 23 year old.