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25-Aug-2020, 10:55 pm

Manchester United could play friendly fixtures before first Premier League game of 2020-21 season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Man Utd 2019-20

Manchester United’s pre-season plans are yet to be finalised, with friendly fixtures being considered as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad are expected back in training next week.

Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford and Brandon Williams have all spent time in Mykonos, Greece, while Victor Lindelof returned to Sweden and Bruno Fernandes is in Portugal.

The squad are expected back at Carrington next week to prepare for the opening fixture which is expected to be against Crystal Palace on the weekend of September 19, after their first game of the season against Burnley was postponed to give Solskjaer’s squad the 30 days of rest required between campaigns.

Several players are expected to be head straight off on international duty with Maguire, Rashford, Dean Henderson and Mason Greenwood called up for England. James has been selected for Wales, but the rest of the squad will report back to the club’s training base on September 2.

The international fixtures and United’s involvement in the Europa League knockout tournament in Germany mean Solskjaer has little time to prepare his team for the new season.

Their rivals have been back in training for a while now, withLiverpoolin Austria on a training camp where they have played several friendlies, but it is understood that a similar trip for United is very unlikely.

Lack of time and concerns over flying during the pandemic mean it is more likely that they will host friendlies behind closed doors at the training ground, in the same way they did before games commenced for Project Restart.

It is understood that a more formal friendly could be organised before the season opener with the potential for the game to be televised, butat this stage opponents and venues have yet to be confirmed.

Ordinarily the squad would have flown off on a pre-season tour, with India a potential destination this summer, which would have been a chancefor massive commercial opportunitiesand huge financial gain.

However, the late end to the last season due to the pandemic means this has not been possible.

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