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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Man Utd stars arrive for training as Premier League prepare vote on new proposals

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Manchester United stars arrived for training on Monday as the Premier League prepares to vote on proposals for a return to contact training on Wednesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side returned to training at the club’s Carrington training ground last week.

But strict social distancing proposals have been in place, keeping contact between players and staff to an absolute minimum.

That has included players driving to and from training in their kits.

Players and managers across the Premier League are set to be consulted on the proposals ahead of the 20 clubs meeting as Project Restart plans continue to gather pace amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Results of the latest round of Covid-19 testing, which is taking place on Monday and Tuesday, will also be published on Wednesday.

Ole was at the wheel on Monday

In the last two rounds of tests, there have been no positive results among United players or staff.

There have been eight positive results from the two rounds of testing in the Premier League so far, from 1,744 total tests.

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It is expected that twice-weekly testing will continue rather than be ramped up further, and the proposals will include what to do in the event of a positive test once contact training has restarted.

Government guidelines on contact training stress the need for “meticulous, time and date sensitive, written records of player groups and interactions” to be kept to enable effective tracing should an individual test positive.

The new guidelines state: “It is anticipated that engaging in this type of training would start with smaller ‘clusters’ of 2-3 athletes and eventually progress to larger groups of 4-12 athletes, and ultimately full team training.”

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Clubs will gather for a second meeting on Thursday, where league chief executive Richard Masters has indicated “wider issues” will be looked at.

Among those discussions could be a restart date. June 12 had initially been preferred, but June 19 has since appeared more likely with most club bosses wanting four weeks training before resuming the campaign.

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When that does happen, United will be boosted by fit again duo Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

However, there are now growing suggestions that they could soon be without January loan signing Odion Ighalo.

Both he and the club are keen for the Nigerian to remain until the campaign ends.

But his deal runs out on May 31 and with the Chinese Super League looking to get up and running again in the next six weeks, parent club Shanghai Shenhua are keen to have the striker back.

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