Injured Manchester United duo return to action in behind-closed-doors friendly defeat to Burnley: Reports

Nottingham Forest v Manchester United - Premier League
Erik ten Hag was handed an injury boost despite loss to Burnley.

Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw returned to action in a 3-1 friendly defeat to Burnley.

The Athletic reports that Maguire and Shaw were both part of Erik ten Hag's side. The game took place on Wednesday afternoon (January 24) and was arranged by both clubs to help raise fitness levels.

Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro, and Amad Diallo also played having overcome injuries of their own. Antony was on target for Manchester United, scoring from the penalty spot.

Maguire has been a long-term absentee, nursing a groin injury he picked up in early December. He went down with the issue when United were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich at Old Trafford which saw them crash out of the UEFA Champions League.

The English defender had been enjoying a career renaissance before his injury. He forged his way back into Ten Hag's starting lineup, forcing Raphael Varane to take a place on the substitutes bench.

Meanwhile, Shaw has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and last played in a 2-0 loss to West Ham United on December 23. The left-back previously missed the majority of the campaign due to a muscular issue.

The English duo's returns will be a massive boost for Ten Hag who has dealt with an injury crisis this season. His side sit eighth in the league, 11 points off the top four after 21 games.

Maguire and Shaw could be available for the Manchester United's trip to Newport County on Sunday (January 28). They face the EFL League Two outfit in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Harry Maguire praises his Manchester United teammate Jonny Evans for his mentoring qualities

Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans previously played together at Leicester City.
Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans previously played together at Leicester City.

Maguire spent much of the first half of the season playing alongside summer signing Jonny Evans. The Northern Irish defender rejoined Manchester United as a free agent on a one-year deal.

Evans, 36, perhaps wouldn't have expected to have been handed as much game time as he has. But, the veteran center-back has proved to be an important player for Ten Hag this season.

The former Leicester City defender is also having a positive impact in the dressing room. His defensive partner Maguire has talked up his personality and how he sets an example for younger players at Manchester United (via The Belfast Telegraph):

"Jonny is an excellent player. He's done really well in all the games that he's played this season and he's great to have around the place. He's great to have as a mentor and for players to look up to. He's professional. He's been a great acquisition to the team and he's done fantastically well."

Evans has made 17 appearances across competitions this season, helping his side keep five clean sheets. Reports claim that Ten Hag is pushing the club to offer the three-time Premier League champion a new deal.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett