Thursday 17 November 2016

International Reds round-up: Herrera debuts and Pogba shines

United's stars enjoyed and endured mixed fortunes as they returned to club duty after the latest international break.

There was a proud and long-awaited senior Spain debut for Ander Herrera - which ended in controversy after an apparent elbow on Eric Dier - in Tuesday night's friendly with England at Wembley.

Herrera came on in the second half but club-mate Juan Mata was taken off at half-time after a quiet 45 minutes.
Jose Reina took over in goal at Wembley with David de Gea rested, but the United keeper played in the 4-0 win over Macedonia the previous weekend.

Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford both featured in the Wembley draw having missed the 3-0 qualifying win over Scotland, a game in which Wayne Rooney started, captained the side and claimed an assist (and then got off his face in the early hours)...

Meanwhile, Memphis, out of favour at Old Trafford, fared better for his country as he scored twice in a 3-1 win in Luxembourg - a game in which Daley Blind also featured - before he came off the bench in a 1-1 draw at home to Belgium in a friendly.

Blind equalled his father Danny's tally of 42 caps for his country in that match in Amsterdam.

Paul Pogba continued his recent excellent run of form when he scored the equaliser in his side's 2-1 qualifying win over Sweden on an emotional night in Paris, the match coming on the one year anniversary of the tragic events in the capital. 
He also played in the first half of an uneventful goalless draw with the Ivory Coast three days later.

Matteo Damian was an unused sub as his Italy side cruised to a qualifying win in Liechtenstein but featured for the full 90 minutes against world champions Germany as the two European heavyweights cancelled each other in the Milan friendly.

Elsewhere, forgotten man Henrikh Mkhitaryan proved his fitness as he captained Armenia to a dramatic comeback win over Montenegro and end a run of three straight defeats in Group E. 

Sergio Romero played twice for Argentina and emerged on both sides of 3-0 scorelines - the first to CONMEBOL qualifying leaders and fierce rivals, Brazil.
The World Cup finalists bounced back strongly, though, and kept up the pressure on the teams above them with a convincing win by the same scoreline over Colombia on Tuesday.

More important than the results, all of United's international stars emerged fresh and injury-free from their latest exploits and ready to resume battle as the Premier League returns with a bang this weekend. 

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