Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the Manchester United players to return to Carrington on Wednesday for the first time since a Covid-19 outbreak forced the training ground to be closed.
The players are returning in groups after Carrington was reopened on Tuesday and Ronaldo and Donny van de Beek were among the players to report to training on Wednesday having been absent yesterday, although Van de Beek left after 10 minutes. Jadon Sancho and Juan Mata weren’t pictured but the Manchester Evening News understands they were at Carrington.
Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane and Scott McTominay were among the players to report to the training ground for the second day in a row as United step up operations.
New assistant coach and analyst Ewan Sharp was also at Carrington as he begins work under Ralf Rangnick, having followed the German from Lokomotiv Moscow.
Club officials took the decision to close Carrington for first-team operations for the weekend when their Premier League clash with Brighton was officially postponed last Thursday.
The training complex reopened on Tuesday but club sources said players would be undergoing a ‘staggered’ return before preparations for the December 27 trip to Newcastle United step up later this week.
The Covid-19 outbreak in the United squad forced both of their games last week to be postponed, with the trip to Brentford and the Old Trafford game with Brighton two of nine Premier League fixtures to be called off. United had just nine players available for the Tuesday game at Brentford and then only seven for the match against the Seagulls.
The Premier League held a meeting with its 20 member clubs on Monday and confirmed the festive fixture schedule would go ahead as planned. United travel to Newcastle on Monday, then host Burnley on Thursday, December 30 and welcome Wolves to Old Trafford on Monday, January 3.
In a statement, the Premier League said: “It was confirmed at a Premier League club meeting today that while recognising a number of clubs are experiencing Covid-19 outbreaks and challenges, it is the League’s collective intention to continue the current fixture schedule where safely possible.
“The health and wellbeing of all concerned remains our priority and the League will continue to monitor and reflect public health guidance, always proceeding with caution.
“A range of issues were discussed at this afternoon’s meeting, including the adaption of the Premier League Covid-19 postponement process in response to the impact of the Omicron variant.
“The League also confirmed to its clubs today that 92 per cent of players and club staff have received one, two or three Covid-19 vaccination doses, with 84 per cent of players on the vaccination journey.
“Players who have had one or two doses are required to wait for the appropriate time period before receiving either their second or booster vaccinations.
“The League continues to work with clubs to encourage vaccination among players and club staff, as well as promoting the government’s public health vaccination messaging to clubs and the wider public.
“No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League, and player vaccination rates will now be publicly communicated at the end of each month, beginning in January.”
United players pictured back at Carrington today:
Cristiano Ronaldo, Donny van de Beek, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane, Anthony Elanga, Scott McTominay, Tahith Chong