Thu. Oct 1st, 2020

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Manchester United player Chris Smalling returns ahead of pre-season training

2 min read

Chris Smalling has returned to Manchester United’s Carrington complex ahead of pre-season training.

The 30-year-old was among the first-team squad members who were tested for COVID-19 ahead of the start of pre-season training on Wednesday.

Smalling spent the entirety of last season on loan at Roma and despite willingness on both sides to make the move permanent he is still at United with the transfer window open for 34 more days.

Smalling is contracted to United until 2022 and excelled during his year in Italy to the extent the England coach Gareth Southgate watched him in the flesh. However, Southgate did not name Smalling in his squad for this month’s Nations League matches with Iceland and Denmark.

United have a bloated central defensive department with Smalling and Marcos Rojo back from loans with Roma and Estudiantes. Smalling played the fewest minutes out of the seven centre halves in pre-season last year and Rojo, 30, played once during a disastrous five-month loan in Argentina.

Rashford arrives
Rashford arrives

Phil Jones, 28, had fewer league minutes than Timothy Fosu-Mensah and was out injured for the entire fixture schedule after the restart in June. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he had no intention of reintegrating Rojo into their first-team squad and United can release him next summer.

Jesse Lingard, overlooked by Southgate again, reported at Carrington on Tuesday afternoon. The injured Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, and Axel Tuanzebe, all recovering from an ankle injury, were also present.

Back-up goalkeepers Lee Grant and Nathan Bishop will take a central part in training this week with David de Gea and Dean Henderson on international duty with Spain and England. Brandon Williams was among the other arrivals.

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