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Man Utd’s pre-season starts: Erik ten Hag’s demands, returning players and De Jong latest

Manchester United will officially begin their pre-season from today with new manager Erik ten Hag expected to meet part of the first-team squad alongside academy players.

The early pre-season training has been planned to increase the intensity and work-rate within the team, but only a maximum of 16 first-team stars could be present at Carrington.

The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Maguire among others are unlikely to feature. They could report at a later date after their recent international commitments.

Meanwhile, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane may also be absent after being ruled out of international duty with injury concerns while Dean Henderson is set to join Nottingham Forest on loan.

Andreas Pereira could be another potential absentee. The 26-year-old is on loan with Flamengo until June 30. The Red Devils have reportedly accepted a transfer offer from Fulham for his services.

With this in mind, here are a list of players currently on the Red Devils’ first-team list (official website) that could be present for the first-ever training session under the new head coach.

Likely players available for training

David de Gea, Tom Heaton, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Alvaro Fernandez, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Shola Shoretire, Amad Diallo, Tahith Chong, Donny van de Beek, Antony Martial.

Ten Hag’s special demands

Before pre-season training begins, Ten Hag has already made a couple of special demands. The first of them involves cutting the grass at the Carrington training complex to 15mm to assist slick passing.

The general routine at United has been to hit the ground running and keep going, but Ten Hag is said to emphasise on passing drills and exercises with the ball to improve the stamina of players.

Distribution is considered as a key facet of the style of play under Ten Hag. The Dutchman will also want to improve the intensity such that his players can high press opponents over long intervals.

Meanwhile, the 52-year-old is likely to insist on all players to eat together to encourage team bonding, something that used to happen under Sir Alex Ferguson. This has not been the case in recent times with players choosing different timings at the staff restaurant.

Latest on Frenkie de Jong

It is an open secret that Ten Hag wants to reunite with his former Ajax midfielder. United have been negotiating for weeks, and it appears they are now on the verge of finalising an agreement.

As per an update from Sport, the club are set to agree on a fee of around €80 million for his services. It is added that personal terms over a five-year contract should be more of a formality.

The transfer saga has been touted to end soon as Barcelona may want to balance their financial books by June 30. De Jong could be available for the Liverpool friendly in Thailand on July 12.