The international break is now finally over. All Nations League matches are done and players will be returning to their clubs. However, this was one of the more intriguing and odd international breaks, considering few factors – coronavirus pandemic which has made playing matches harder and also the fact that the new season has not yet started and players were already in action for their national sides.
Also, this international break was an interesting one from a perspective of Manchester United. A total of nine Man United players played in the past five or six days and that number would have been even bigger if it was not for Nemanja Matic’s late decision to retire from the national team of Serbia and completely focus on his time at Manchester United.
So let’s take a look at how (part of) our players did in the past week.
Spain – David De Gea
This was a good international break for De Gea. He is back as Spain’s number one, now ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga who lost his place at Chelsea and was in terrible form. De Gea got to play all 180 minutes in two matches against Germany and Ukraine and during that time he did concede one goal. Yet he was entirely brilliant, especially in that first match against Germany, after he made seven saves. He also kept a clean-sheet in an easy 4-0 win over Ukraine. Hopefully this translates onto his club form now, which would be bad news for Dean Henderson.
Wales – Dan James & Dylan Levitt
It is interesting to see that Daniel James has had a good time for Wales during this international break, especially given how his season at Man United ended and that he lost his place to Mason Greenwood. He had a tough time for the most part of the campaign, trying to settle in in the Premier League, but now with his national team he won both matches, against Finland and Bulgaria.
James assisted the winning goal in that first match, but it is also interesting to see 19-year-old Dylan Levitt getting the full 90 minutes in that match as well. He already made more starts in 2020 for Wales than he did for Manchester United and Levitt was good in central midfield in that game against Finland. Wales finished this break with two 1-0 wins, getting them top of their group from the off.
France – Anthony Martial
Didier Deschamps talked in depth about Anthony Martial during this international break, claiming the Manchester United star has been different, but in a very positive way and Hugo Lloris also stated that he does not know whether that is down to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but that Martial has been more confident in himself. And that translated onto the pitch.
Martial earned a penalty in France’s first match against Sweden, when Victor Lindelof brought him down, but Antoine Griezmann did not convert. Then, France played against Croatia in a World Cup final rematch and once again France won 4-2. Martial assisted one goal in that match and then scored another, before the goal was afterwards ruled as an own-goal. This was a truly brilliant international break for Martial who can now count on himself being part of future Deschamps’ squads.