Speaking to the media ahead of the crunch encounter against old rivals Liverpool at Anfield on Monday, Jose Mourinho confirmed that Manchester United have a fully fit squad returning to the team, post the international break.
The United duo of Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard earned their first call-ups to their respectively national sides, Spain and England, before returning to Carrington for training. The latter was handed his debut by interim England boss, Gareth Southgate in the 2-0 victory over Malta.
Lingard also started the next World Cup qualifier, when England travelled to play Slovenia, while Herrera was an unused substitute in both of Spain’s qualifying fixtures, where they picked up 4 points from two games with a draw against Italy and a win over Albania.
Proud moment for the club, says Mourinho
Jose Mourinho picked out the duo and heaped praise on their call-ups, calling it a special moment when players have earned their place to represent their country.
“I like my players to go to the international teams,” said the United manager.
“I know that other managers don’t like it. I know that other managers they even try to stop them to go. I know there is sometimes also a bit of a fake injury to stop people to go. I’m not like that. I’m always very proud of my players to be selected.”
The Portuguese manager also spoke about how it is a proud moment for the club involved. “And especially these two that you refer to. One was a debutant, the other was a call-up to the Spanish team. It’s obviously important for them and it’s good for me and I think also the club feels proud of it,” Mourinho said during his press conference.
Ander Herrera was called up to the national side due to injuries sustained to Saul Niguez and Thiago Alcantara.
Herrera was chosen to the Spanish team’s setup after a having a brilliant start to the season under the new Portuguese manager and called his call-up ‘a proud moment’ and one of the best of his career so far.
Lingard proud of call-up to national team
Jesse Lingard, speaking to Manchester United club channel, MUTV, spoke about how much the call-up meant to him and his family, and had this to say, “It was an experience I’ll cherish and my family are over the moon as they know the hard work and dedication it’s taken for me to get there.”
"Obviously I know Gareth Southgate well from time with the Under-21s, so I knew exactly what he wanted from me. It’s good for me to have Gareth there because he has faith in me and gives me the confidence to play and to play freely.”
Jose Mourinho has a lot of decisions to make as he has a fully fit squad, with both Luke Shaw and Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan recovering from their injuries.
Herrera, not having made an appearance for Spain in their 2 games, looks to be a sure starter for the game against Liverpool, alongside Paul Pogba in the middle of the park. Wayne Rooney is another interesting headache for Mourinho to have, with Lingard and Mata, both in stellar form.
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