When Jose Mourinho named his 25-man squad for Manchester United’s two-match tour of China, supporters noticed one notable absentee.
Anthony Martial, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin were all left behind to recover after their Euro 2016 excursions. But those players that exited the tournament in the earlier stages were included with David de Gea, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford all being included.
But, Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t on board the flight to the far east. This may have surprised some people as Ibrahimovic’s Sweden crashed out of the group stages - before both Spain and England. Also, with new signings Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan being involved, some may struggle to understand why the 34-year-old wasn’t included to bond with his new teammates.
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Well, supporters can stop wondering now because Mourinho has revealed why Zlatan wasn't named on the tour in typical Mourinho fashion.
"The best suits are suits by measure. You go for a size that fits you - same for players,” he said in a press conference in China, per BBC Sport.
"No two players are the same. The decision on Zlatan is the consequence of many hours of study. He was out one match before the English guys.
"The body and mind is different. Even things you don't have to know. Players prepare in a different way.
"We are trying to do suits by measure and be perfect for the person. The way I am trying to build the team is more important than the player who will play as striker. I am trying to change the profile. The striker is the easy one to finish the puzzle.”
Ibrahimovic needs a rest
While it’s sometimes difficult to read between the lines where Mourinho is concerned, it’s obvious that the Special One is basically saying Ibrahimovic needs a longer rest than the others.
In fairness, it’s not too surprising that Mourinho wants to make sure the enigmatic striker is fully recuperated ahead of the new season. The Swede turns 35-years-old in October and so a nice rest following this summer’s excursions may be exactly what he needs.
Due to his absence during the tour of China, Ibrahimovic will miss friendlies against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. The first chance United fans will get to see their new striker in a red shirt will come in a friendly against Galatasaray on July 30 in Ibrahimovic’s homeland.