A number of youngsters have stepped up at first-team training this week because so many of United’s senior stars are on international duty, according to Chris Smalling .
United currently have 11 first-team players on international duty across the globe: David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba, Fred, Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
Jose Mourinho, meanwhile, has been spending time back in the family home in London during the first week of the international break and travelled to Podgorica on Thursday to watch Serbia’s historic clash with Montenegro.
But it has been business as usual at Carrington for Smalling, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Lee Grant, Andreas Pereira and those other players who were not called-up by their respective nations.
United’s coaching staff have been putting the players through their paces with possession games, one v ones and two v twos to work on their fitness this week.
And a number of fresh faces have been helping United’s depleted squad.
“It’s great to see their energy,” Smalling told MUTV.
“It reminds you of when you were that young and you wanted to come in. We’ve had quite a lot of young players in and it’s nice to see. There must have been at least seven, eight or nine of the young ones.
“Again we’ll train with them tomorrow – I think we’re playing a bigger [sided] game. It gives every one of them an opportunity to see that pathway through [to the first team].”
Mason Greenwood, James Garner and Ethan Laird were not among those who made the step up this week as they are currently on international duty with England’s under-18s.