International break could provide Manchester United with much-needed impetus

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The ten-day break for international fixtures is often the bane of the bigger clubs. The prospect of having the majority of their squad making long journeys to far-away outposts to partake in competitive games, coupled with the risk of injuries, is sure to give managers sleepless nights.

However, on rare occasions the break can prove to be a blessing in disguise. Coming off the back of their first defeat of the season against Swansea City, a week-and-a-half away from the pressures of the Premier League could well prove to be a welcomed tonic for Manchester United players.

With historic rivals Liverpool due to visit Old Trafford on Saturday evening, United players - with the exception of Netherlands duo Memphis Depay and Daley Blind - should be returning to the club in high spirits.


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Naturally, the player whom everybody is talking about is striker Wayne Rooney. In the past four days he first equalled, then surpassed, Sir Bobby Charlton's 45-year-old England goalscoring record. He now stands alone as the country's greatest ever goalscorer - something that Rooney should heed confidence from.

Another whose name has featured prominently in the news this week is David de Gea. His promotion to the position of Spain's no.1 for their qualifier against Macedonia could not have been better timed. After a month without competitive action the 'keeper proved that he is in the right frame of mind, and will hope such opportunities will continue when he returns to United.

Compatriot Juan Mata will similarly be in high in confidence having made a goalscoring return to the national side after over a year in the wilderness. The Spaniard plundered three goals past Liverpool last season too, and will be thriving upon the opportunity to face them once again.

Summer signing Anthony Martial will be hoping Louis van Gaal shows as much faith in his ability as France manager Didier Deschamps. The 19-year-old won his first cap for France with two appearances from the bench over the international break and, although he didn't score, proved that he was not overawed by the occasion and could be in line for a cameo role at the weekend. 

However, Martial's highly anticipated debut could be disrupted by inform team-mate Marouane Fellaini. The Belgian netted his 15th goal for his country over the weekend to remind everyone of his ability and could be used to spearhead United's attack.

England defenders Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw also received praise for their performances against Switzerland on Tuesday night, with the former winning the man-of-the-match award.

After a return of just one point from a possible six in their previous two league games, United need a return to form to reignite their title ambitions. The Red Devils should now be approaching the clash with fellow top-four candidates Liverpool with renewed confidence.

A win against their fierce rivals is a necessity, both to lay down a marker and to keep on the tails of runaway league leaders Manchester City.

With crucial players coming into the fixture on top form United have the perfect platform to achieve a vital victory.

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