UEFA Euro 2020 (2021) is underway after an exhilarating first round of group stage fixtures. Several Manchester United players were called up to their national sides for the tournament, but it’s been a mixed bag so far in terms of involvement. Some saw crucial action, others looked on for various reasons, and for some injury has meant an unfortunate early end to their stay in their respective squads.
Here’s how the first round went for every Red Devil involved.
Dean Henderson: It was an unfortunate week for Dean Henderson. He didn’t feature in England’s match, with Jordan Pickford maintaining his no. 1 spot under Southgate for a second tournament. Then, after the opening match, Henderson left the England squad due to a hip injury. His first tournament comes to a disappointing end as he returns home for treatment in preparation for a no. 1 battle with David De Gea in United’s preseason.
Harry Maguire: Maguire didn’t feature for England in the opening match against Croatia. He was able to return to training finally in the week leading up to the opening match, but Southgate decided not to risk him too early. It was a decision that paid off, as the Three Lions kept a clean sheet without Maguire, but given his recovery and comfortable stay in the team under Southgate before his injury, it likely won’t be too long before we see Maguire start.
Luke Shaw: Shaw was a somewhat surprising omission from the starting XI against Croatia. Kieran Trippier, who typically plays right back or wing back, came in at left back for the match, and put in a decent performance as well. It remains to be seen whether it was tactical tinkering specific for that match or an idea Southgate plans to build on, but Shaw’s strong performances this season certainly warrant consideration ahead of Trippier.
Marcus Rashford: The only United player to feature for England thus far, Rashford came on as a second half substitute for Phil Foden in the 1-0 win at Wembley. He offered another pacy option off of Harry Kane at first, before moving more central as Kane was subbed off for Jude Bellingham. Worked hard, but didn’t see a clear chance on goal in his time on the pitch.
Paul Pogba: Probably the best of the bunch, both for France and of the United players. Pogba was brilliant in France’s tense 1-0 win over Germany to kick off their campaign. He sprayed passes all over the pitch, including the one which led to the opening goal, and two which led to disallowed goals, with Mbappe marginally offside each time. Deservedly won Man of the Match for his efforts.
Donny Van De Beek: Donny, like Henderson, unfortunately had to withdraw from his nation’s side ahead of the tournament. The midfielder will miss out for the Oranje through injury, and will head home to prepare for the upcoming club season.
Bruno Fernandes: Bruno was his typically active self in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary. Though he wasn’t able to find the net, he operated effectively at the heart of the midfield and found the play wherever it went. Good chemistry with Bernardo Silva gave the Portuguese some nice creativity, though they had to wait until the death to finally break down a heroic Hungary defense.
Scott McTominay: McTominay worked hard for Scotland against the Czech Republic, but his side ultimately lost 0-2 to a good goal from Patrick Schick and a remarkable goal from Patrick Schick. Scotland looked to be in control for much of the game, but they lacked creativity and clinical finishing up front. McTominay had one good chance dribbling into the box, and was taken down by a defender, but no penalty was given after the collision.
David De Gea: An unfortunately eventful pre-tournament camp for Spain led to a rather boring and uninspiring 0-0 draw against Sweden, in which Spain had 86% of possession and over 900 passes. De Gea however watched from the sidelines. He lost the starting spot to Unai Simon some time ago, and may soon lose his spot at United permanently to Dean Henderson.
Victor Lindelof: On the other side of the 0-0 is Sweden and United’s Lindelof, who put in a Man of the Match performance to secure a point for the Swedes. The midfield and forwards ahead of him offered little by way of relief, but Lindelof prove more than capable of keeping things organized for nearly the entire match against the Spaniards.
Dylan Levitt: Levitt went unused as a substitute in Wales’ opening match, but he featured fairly regularly for the team over the last year, earning 8 caps since his callup in 2020. Might not be too long before we see him in action.
Daniel James: James put in a very good performance for Wales, and was crucial in their efforts to get one back after going a goal down. His pace, dribbling, and creativity on the left wing gave good width to a side that so often relies on Gareth Bale down the right. He put in a couple really good crosses and looked lively until his substitution in the 75th minute.