Manchester United’s last two shots at a trophy are on the line in the coming days, and the news is positive as big names make their return to training. Paul Pogba, David De Gea, Edinson Cavani, and Donny Van De Beek have each returned to the side, with De Gea leaving to be with his wife and newborn and the other three returning from extended injury absences. Manchester United play AC Milan at the San Siro in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 tie on Thursday before returning to England to play Leicester City at the King Power stadium in an FA Cup quarterfinal clash on Sunday.
Pogba has been recovering from a hamstring injury for over a month now, suffered against Everton mid-way through their dramatic 3-3 draw in the Premier League. His creativity and forward thinking play in midfield have been sorely missed in that time, and will certainly be a boost in the upcoming cup ties, should Ole deem him fit enough to play. Van De Beek’s return is a boost for midfield options as well, though the Dutchman has struggled to make an impact to this point in his first season at the club. Perhaps now he will get a high profile opportunity to contribute and prove his worth.
Cavani’s presence has been missed in attack as well, exacerbating Ole’s already limited options at striker. Anthony Martial picked up an injury of his own the moment he began to look more like himself, and Mason Greenwood has yet to nail down his best position in the front 3. The onus has been on Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes to get chances and goals, with the former picking up an ankle injury against Manchester City.
David De Gea’s return is a bit earlier than expected, with initial reports keeping him out of the side until after the international break, and could make team selection interesting for Solskjaer. He notably put De Gea in ahead of Sergio Romero against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final last season, a decision that led to scrutiny after a costly blunder by the Spaniard and the souring of Romero’s relationship with the club. Henderson was expected to get both of these starts without De Gea as an option, and perhaps now we will see where Solskjaer’s head is at in terms of the battle for the no. 1 spot between the veteran and academy product.
A busy few days will decide whether United add some silverware on their rebuilding journey under Solskjaer, or whether the club’s trophy drought will extend to four straight seasons. It’s safe to say Ole will need his reinforcements, but whether or not they will be used for a full 90 minutes remains to be seen.