Manchester United International Preview | February 6

Bob Levey

Up to thirteen Manchester United players could be on international duty on Wednesday in FIFA World Cup qualifiers and friendlies.

Fourteen Manchester United players were initially called into international duty for FIFA's midweek World Cup qualifiers and friendlies. Michael Carrick, however, has withdrawn due to (supposed) injury so that number has been reduced to thirteen. The biggest hope, of course, for most United fans is for none of our players to get injured. A challenging Premier League clash with Everton awaits us at the weekend and a massive UEFA Champions League two-legged tie with Spanish giants Real Madrid begins next week. Here's a listing of United players that could feature for their national sides on Wednesday:

* Wayne Rooney (England): The Three Lions take on Brazil at Wembley as part of many occasions this year to celebrate the FA's 150th birthday. Rooney, who is generally regarded as England's best player at the moment, is likely to feature prominently. With strikers Jermaine Defoe and Daniel Sturridge withdrawing this week due to injury, the United attacker is one of only two strikers on the squad. Roy Hodgson has indicated, though, that he won't use Rooney for the entire match due to challenging fixtures that await Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the next week.

* Danny Welbeck (England): Welbeck is the only other striker on the England squad so he is likely to play a major role in the friendly. The youngster hasn't gotten the chance to regularly feature in a central-attacking role at Old Trafford -- due to the presence and form of Rooney, Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito), and Shinji Kagawa -- so he may relish this opportunity. Arsenal's Theo Walcott, though, has done well in a central role as of late so he's an option up front as well. Welbeck, like Rooney, is unlikely to be used for the entire match. The two United attackers, though, are anticipated to start together as the strike partnership.

* Tom Cleverley (England): The 23-year-old has begun to establish himself in this England side as he's now picked up six caps in the past year. He and Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, perhaps, represent the future. The old guard, though, Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Chelsea's Frank Lampard have been called into duty as well. All indications are that Wilshere and Gerrard will start together against Brazil.

* Chris Smalling (England): The 23-year-old defender made his senior England debut in September 2011 and he has gone on to earn three caps total thus far. His development has been hindered by continual injuries since but his recent run of good health has allowed him to be called into international duty again. He'll be competing with Phil Jagielka, Joleon Lescott, and Gary Cahill for playing time against Brazil. Rio Ferdinand -- England's best central-defender at the moment -- has presumably been left out again because of 'footballing reasons'.

* Patrice Evra (France): France host Germany for an intriguing friendly at the Stade de France. Evra has generally been first-choice under Didier Deschamps so there's a decent chance the left-back will feature. The former France captain is sitting on 47 caps. He's likely to start against both Everton and Madrid so hopefully he only plays a half at most.

* Javier Hernandez (Mexico): The Red with the most important international fixture is Chicharito. Mexico hosts Jamaica at the intimidating Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in the first round of fixtures for CONCACAF's final round of World Cup qualifying. The 24-year-old has impressively bagged 28 goals in 43 appearances for El Tri.

* Robin van Persie (Holland): The United talisman joins Holland as they host Euro 2012 runner-up Italy at Amsterdam Arena for a friendly. The striker has bagged 31 goals for his country in 71 appearances.

* Nani (Portugal): Portugal host South American side Ecuador at Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes, Portugal. Nani is likely to feature opposite of Cristiano Ronaldo in attack on the right-side. The United winger hasn't been in great form this season but he's show signs of improvement as of late. This friendly, perhaps, offers him another game to gain sharpness ahead of United's upcoming big games.

* Antonio Valencia (Ecuador): Valencia could be opposite of Nani in this tie. Just like his teammate, the Ecuadorian hasn't been in good form in the past few months. Maybe playing with his national side will give him a spark or maybe a change of scenery will do him some good.

* Anders Lindegaard (Denmark): United's back-up goalkeeper will travel with Denmark to Macedonia for a friendly. Lindegaard is not his country's No.1, but he has earned five caps thus far.

* Shinji Kagawa (Japan): The playmaker will travel all the way back to Kobe, Japan for a friendly against Latvia. It'll be interesting to see how Ferguson manages Kagawa's jet-lag as the gaffer was always cautious with Park Ji-sung when he traveled to Asia and back for South Korea duty.

* Angelo Henriquez (Chile): Chile will face Egypt at the Vicente Calderon in Spain for a friendly. Henriquez has scored one goal in his lone senior side international appearance. The 18-year-old is currently on loan to Wigan Athletic where he's bagged a goal in two appearance thus far.

* Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland): Evans travels with Northern Ireland to face Malta for a friendly. The 25-year-old currently has 31 caps.


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