Manchester United are starting to welcome back players to their Carrington training centre after a Covid-19 outbreak ripped through the squad in recent weeks.
The Red Devils had to postpone their Premier League matches with Brentford and Brighton after several players and staff returned positive coronavirus tests, forcing the closure of the training ground.
But the Manchester Evening News report that the facility has reopened and at least 20 first team players returned to training on Tuesday.
Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane were among the key players spotted reporting to Carrington, while notable absences included Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho – but MEN add that the plan is to stagger the return of first team players.
Carrington closed first team operations last Tuesday following confirmation that United’s trip to Brentford had been cancelled. They were reopened in the following days in preparation for their home clash with Brighton, but once again closed once that fixture was called off in another attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19 among the squad, only reopening on Tuesday morning.
Man Utd’s next match comes away at Newcastle next Monday, by which time new coronavirus restrictions could be in place in England – Wales have already announced that sporting events will have to take place behind closed doors from Boxing Day, which will affect EFL sides Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.
90min understands that Premier League and EFL clubs are strongly against the idea of playing games totally behind closed doors again due to the financial strain it would cause, and agreed to soldier on and continue the English football season on Monday despite a spike in Covid cases in the UK.
In a separate press release, United have confirmed that fans will be required to demonstrate their Covid status – in line with Government guidelines – for the home game against Burnley on 30 December and all forthcoming fixtures.
Upon their arrival, fans must present one of the following:
Supporters over the age of 18 who fail to provide one of the above will be denied access to Old Trafford.