Playing in empty stadiums is going to become the new norm for footballers, so it’s probably best they start to get used to it. That may have been the reasoning behind several Premier League teams holding training sessions at their grounds this week, with some even playing full friendlies to give their players a taste of what is to come.
The Premier League is set to resume behind closed doors from 17 June after being suspended since 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic. At Old Trafford, Harry Maguire captained a ‘home’ Manchester United team against an ‘away’ side led by Bruno Fernandes.
It marked the first time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men had played on home soil since their 2-0 win over derby rivals Manchester City on 8 March – their final match before lockdown. It had been even longer since Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba had done so, last featuring for United on 26 December and 15 January respectively before long injury lay-offs.