Zlatan Ibrahimovic will train with Manchester United’s first-team squad for the first time on Thursday, the striker having had an extended break following Sweden’s exit from Euro 2016. He will be joined by Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin, Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini, who also return from their respective post-tourney holiday.
The session at Carrington is the first time José Mourinho has had his full squad together since becoming the manager. Ibrahimovic signed for United on a free transfer in early July, with Sweden having exited the European Championships on 22 June. Having begun an individual programme on Sunday at Carrington, when he joins Mourinho’s squad on Thursday the 34-year-old will have had a five-week break from first-team training.
United’s captain, Wayne Rooney, is excited at having the Swede as a team-mate. “I am looking forward to it,” he said. “I think he has been one of the best strikers in world football over the last 10 years and he has always won trophies everywhere he has been.
“He is a huge character so I am looking forward to getting back, training with him and hopefully forming a good partnership and being successful together.”
While the minimum requirement for a footballer is three weeks after participating in a major tournament, as is the Fifa guideline, Mourinho is clear why Ibrahimovic has been given so much time off. “The best suits are suits by measure. You go for a size that fits you,” he said. “Same for players. 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.”
Of the start to life under Mourinho, Rooney said: “Yeah, it has been great. The training has been tough and you can see why he has won trophies at the clubs he has been at. I have enjoyed it, it has been difficult in the heat out in China, but it has been really good and I am just looking forward to getting involved in the games.”
To compensate United went straight to a training session at 6.30am on Tuesday morning after landing in Manchester. Mourinho said: “They are a great group of boys and the intensity of the session shows they are very professional in their outlook.”