Manchester United news: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to miss pre-season China tour as Jose Mourinho gives him time off

Ibrahimovic has been given an extended break by Mourinho to prepare for the new season

Jack de Menezes
Friday 15 July 2016 09:40
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Manchester United's pre-season tour of China
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Manchester United's pre-season tour of China

Manchester United fans have been forced to wait before they witness Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action after Jose Mourinho afforded the striker some extra time off, meaning he will miss the pre-season tour of China.

The Sweden international is currently on holiday after his exploits at Euro 2016, with Fifa’ regulations stating that clubs must give players three weeks holiday as a minimum during the summer. However, with Sweden failing to make it out of the group stage, Ibrahimovic’s last match came on 22 June, meaning he could conceivably return to training today in good time for the trip to China.

That won’t be happening though after the Daily Mail reported that United manager Mourinho extended Ibrahimovic’s break in order to fully recover from last season. Despite the lucrative opportunity of having Ibrahimovic’s presence in China help to aid merchandise sales, Mourinho has elected to take the safety first approach, given that Ibrahimovic turns 35 in October and, like any player heading into the later years of their career, will need managing this season to keep him at optimum fitness levels.

Given that the Swede will miss all of United’s Far East tour, the former PSG striker will likely return in time for United’s clash with Galatasaray on 30 July – coincidentally being played in Sweden. United face Everton four days later in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial, before getting the season underway with the Community Shield against Premier League champions Leicester City on 7 August.

But while Ibrahimovic has been given extra holiday, United’s England contingent have not. After going out of Euro 2016 on 27 June in the embarrassing 2-1 defeat by Iceland, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford will report back for pre-season next week before flying out to China – although Mourinho has already confirmed that they will not play on the tour but will be there for the bonding experience with their teammates.

Mourinho: I am where I want to be

“I am taking the English boys - that I wasn't expecting but they're coming. I take them but I'm not going to play them,” Mourinho told MUTV earlier this month.

“What is more important is to work, to be together, to live together 24 hours every day during the week and finally when you come back from China is when the others are waiting for us.”

United’s pre-season programme gets underway on Saturday when Mourinho takes charge of his first match as manager at Championship side Wigan Athletic.

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