Manchester United have assembled a provisional 29-man squad ahead of the possible restart of the Premier League season next month.
United reopened their Carrington training complex on Wednesday for players to begin phase one of training in anticipation of the season’s likely resumption in June.
Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have reported for sessions now they have recovered from long-term injuries and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
The United squad could be trimmed if the club fails to agree an extension for the loan of Shanghai Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo, whose contract expires on May 31. Angel Gomes is out of contract on June 30 and United have until June 23 to agree an extension until the end of the season with the 19-year-old.
United are expected to agree for Dean Henderson, Chris Smalling, Alexis Sanchez, and Marcos Rojo to stay out on loan. Henderson and Smalling have enjoyed fine seasons with Sheffield United and Roma but Inter Milan have expressed no willingness to keep the injury-prone Sanchez permanently, and Rojo was scolded by Estudiantes president Juan Sebastian Veron for flouting lockdown restrictions in Argentina.
United are fifth in the Premier League, face Norwich City in the FA Cup quarter-finals and are all but through to the last eight of the Europa League. United could have as many as 18 matches left to play this season if they reach the finals of both cup competitions.
The club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said Uefa have earmarked August as the ‘culmination’ of the Europa League and the Premier League is already planning to finish the 2020-21 season in May of next year, a month before the European Championship starts.
Arsenal’s on-loan midfielder Dani Ceballos claimed the Premier League has pencilled in June 20 as the restart date, which would give United 10 weeks at the very most to complete their domestic and European commitments before a quick turnaround to start the next league campaign.
United Under-23 and Under-18 players have not been permitted entry to Carrington as their league seasons have been cancelled, although the FA Youth Cup could be completed. United have been drawn away at Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Provisional United squad for run-in:
David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop,Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, Daniel James, Odion Ighalo, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford