CRISTIANO RONALDO and Harry Maguire hope their troubled domestic seasons don’t dent their World Cup hopes as TWENTY-ONE Manchester United players bid for places in Qatar.
All-time great Ronaldo, 37, is still a Portugal fixture, despite first-ever question marks over his hero status at international level.
And centre-back Maguire has been backed all the way by England chief Gareth Southgate despite losing his regular starting spot at Old Trafford.
Luke Shaw and even Marcus Rashford might also be slightly nervous over their squad places for this winter’s tournament.
But of United‘s five Lions, it’s back-up keeper Dean Henderson and attacker Jadon Sancho who are under most danger of missing out.
Four Brazilian Red Devils – Alex Telles, Fred, Casemiro, Antony – should all make the cut.
But while Tyrell Malacia’s Old Trafford emergence makes him a likely traveller, fellow Dutchman Donny van de Beek appears sure to stay at home as his United nightmare continues.
Here’s our breakdown of the probables, possibles and extreme long-shots of United players targeting the 2022 World Cup – with at least 10 men set to stay at home.
Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are relying on Gareth Southgate’s loyalty to make the squad.
Marcus Rashford is strongly backed for a recall after returning to both form and fitness.
But Dean Henderson might be England’s stay-at-home, standby keeper – behind Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsey and Nick Pope.
And Jadon Sancho is tipped by many to miss out after his in-and-out season at Old Trafford under Erik ten Hag.
Record scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and goal-getting midfielder Bruno Fernandes are certs.
And right-back Diogo Dalot is likely to go amid his best campaign at Old Trafford so far.
Midfielders Fred and Casemiro should remain in the Brazil squad this winter.
Fringe left-back Alex Telles could squeeze onto the plane.
And over the past few months ex-Ajax attacker Antony has played his way into a probable World Cup place/
Raphael Varane appears sure to be one of the French squad’s awesome array of centre-backs.
But frontman Anthony Martial’s dodgy fitness record means he’s an uncertain traveller.
Having overcome a testing start to his Old Trafford career, former Ajax central defender Lisandro Martinez is strongly fancied to make this winter’s tournament.
Incredibly, United’s long-time No1 David de Gea is expected to remain Spain’s FOURTH-CHOICE stopper – and miss the World Cup.
International boss Luis Enrique prefers ball-playing keepers – and has stuck with Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez and David Raya.
Tyrell Malacia’s breakthrough campaign at left-back should earn him a place in Qatar.
But midfielder Donny van de Beek will surely sit out the tournament after scarcely playing for Old Trafford chief Erik ten Hag.
Impressing in his first season at Old Trafford, midfield stylist Christian Eriksen is poised for an astonishing comeback on the biggest international stage, two years after a near-fatal heart attack at Euro 2022.
France-born playmaker Hannibal Mejbri, 19, is already a key man for the Tunisians.
And his loan spell with Birmingham has bolstered his match sharpness, ensuring his place in the national squad this winter.
Winger Facundo Pellistri, 20, should travel to Qatar, despite failing to earn game-time for United.
STAYING AT HOME
A host of talented Old Trafford fringe players will miss out.
Uncapped English full-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams seem set to stay at home, along with centre-backs Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones.
Also not going are keepers Martin Dubravka and Tom Heaton, plus Scotland midfielder Scott McTominay and Swedish starlet Anthony Elanga.
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