Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selection policy has hindered two Manchester United players

Some Man Utd players have struggled with injury at Euro 2020 and haven't been involved for their nations.


The sight of any England teamsheet without a single Manchester United player on it can be difficult to comprehend.

Even at Euro 2012, with Wayne Rooney injured and Rio Ferdinand excluded because of his soured relationship with John Terry, United still had two representatives in the starting line-up for the opening game. Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young both played 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with France in Donetsk.

Even at United's lowest ebb between 2014 and 2018, they regularly had players (Rooney, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones) in the national team's preferred 11.

And it seems strange that with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regularly fielding United line-ups that feature five or six English players, Gareth Southgate didn't see fit to start any of them against Croatia last Sunday.

There are some mitigating factors to this, of course, not least the injury that has kept Harry Maguire — a certain England starter when fit — on the sidelines. Dean Henderson is now injured too, though Southgate only viewed the United keeper as a back-up to Jordan Pickford.

Marcus Rashford, meanwhile, has been playing through the pain barrier for some time, as he readily admitted in a press conference leading up to Friday night's big clash with Scotland.

“I understand my body well, and it’s been a while for me without playing with things that hold you back in some way," Rashford said, alluding to those underlying injury issues.

"It’s the last push for this season and then we get some time off, so I’m just concentrating on giving everything I can while I’m here with the team."

The fitness of almost all the United players in the England squad (barring Luke Shaw, who was genuinely very unfortunate to miss out against Croatia) is surely a concern for Southgate right now.

Even the news that Maguire had declared himself fit to play gives the Three Lions a selection headache at centre-back, following Tyrone Mings' solid display next to John Stones in the previous match.

Like Rashford, Maguire is claiming he is fully fit to play, understandably desperate to feature in another major tournament for his country, with England having a great chance of progressing.

Harry Maguire hasn't featured for England in the Euros yet 

Maguire said: "I feel good. I'm back available, been training and I'm looking forward to it [the Scotland match].

"Obviously the injury was a setback club football wise. Internationally I wanted to come into this with a lot of games under my belt with full fitness.

"I've done a few sessions now and feel like my fitness is there, so I'm available for the game."

The truth is Solskjaer's dependence on Maguire and Rashford in particular over the course of the 2021/22 campaign has hindered their summers with England.

Based purely on ability, both of them (plus Shaw) should have started the Three Lions' opening game. But Maguire started 51 games for United between September 19th and May 9th, Rashford started 46. Both have suffered a degree of burn out.

Solskjaer was reluctant to rotate unless absolutely necessary, with Bruno Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Shaw among the others who were used heavily without much of a rest.

The Norwegian never said it out loud, but he was crying out for more options to come into the first team. The fact he didn't make a substitution until the 100th minute with United flagging in the Europa League final spoke volumes. United paid the ultimate price for this shortcoming.

Henderson may simply have been unlucky to suffer a hip injury, which has now ruled him out of his first international tournament. Goalkeeper was one of the few positions in which United had two top class candidates, with the Cumbrian and David de Gea.

But if United are to avoid these issues recurring, and fatigue playing a part in their potential title bid next season, they must add more depth to their squad.

Okay, the past 18 months in football have been unique and difficult to plan for, because of the covid-19 disruptions, but this cannot plague them again. it didn't affect Man City very much.

Looking to the transfer market this summer is the obvious answer, though United fans will be hoping Rashford and Maguire don't suffer any further issues while on England duty.

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