Injured Man Utd star returns to training but three fitness doubts not spotted

Only 12 players were pictured in Manchester United training on Thursday.

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Marcel Sabitzer returned to Manchester United training on Thursday in a major boost for Erik ten Hag’s midfield options ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United.

With Casemiro suspended, Christian Eriksen not yet recovered from an ankle injury and Donny van de Beek out for the remainder of the campaign, United have limited resources in the centre of the park. Those concerns were only amplified over the international break when Sabitzer picked up a knee injury while representing Austria, an issue which forced him to sit out his country’s win over Estonia on Monday night.

The on-loan Bayern Munich man’s return to United training will therefore come as a relief for Ten Hag, who can also call upon Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes to start in midfield at St James’ Park. Yet, while Sabitzer was spotted in the club’s latest training images on Thursday, there were a number of notable absentees.

Marcus Rashford, who is a major doubt for Sunday’s clash with Newcastle, was not pictured with the squad, nor was Raphael Varane, who picked up a knock prior to the international break. The Frenchman missed the 3-1 FA Cup win against Fulham two weeks ago - United’s most recent game - with a minor injury.

Meanwhile, Anthony Martial wasn’t among those pictured at Carrington. He’s struggled with a hip issue in recent months but has been training with the first-team squad for a number of weeks and it’s hoped he could be available for Sunday’s game.

Despite Varane, Rashford and Martial not being seen in Thursday’s session, only 12 senior players were pictured in the club’s training gallery, with more presumably set to return before the weekend.

One player who won’t be involved is Tom Heaton, with the club’s back-up goalkeeper confirming he has picked up an ankle injury and won’t be available until mid-April. He joins Alejandro Garnacho on the sidelines, although the full extent of his ankle issue has not yet been revealed.

Spotted in training: Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Luke Shaw, Zidane Iqbal, Kobbie Mainoo, Marcel Sabitzer, Bruno Fernandes, Antony, Wout Weghorst.

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