Five reasons Louis van Gaal and Manchester United are the big winners from the latest international break

Louis van Gaal and Manchester United have emerged as the big winners from the latest international break for a number of reasons.

International breaks are always a testing time for club managers.

Left with a skeleton squad of players not representing their countries it is difficult to do anything meaningful at the training ground.

Meanwhile, some of your key players jet off all over the world and risk injury playing for their countries often in high pressure games.

The Premier League season always struggles to get into a rhythm until after the final international break of the year in October.

And that is the case this year with one of the most open starts to a season in recent memory.

But this time around it has been nothing but positive for the Red Devils for a number of reasons.

Enforced rest for Rooney and Carrick

First United and England captain Wayne Rooney has had a enforced break as a minor injury ruled him out of action for the Three Lions for the friendlies against Estonia and Lithuania.

It was the same situation for another key Red devils star as Michael Carrick also missed out through a minor knock and had a welcome rest.

It will leave both players fresh ahead of the main and largely uninterrupted chunk of the season where Premier League titles are won and lost.

Confidence boost for Smalling the skipper?

Another boost for Van Gaal came as Chelsea's Gary Cahill, the stand-in England skipper in Rooney's absence, was ruled out of Monday's Lithuania game.

The significance is that United defender Chris Smalling gets to complete a huge turnaround in his career by going from a potential Old Trafford flop to being tipped to take the England armband in Rooney and Cahill's absence.

It would undoubtedly give Smalling a huge confidence boost as he continues to prove himself a key player in the United setup under Van Gaal.

However, the most encouraging news for Van Gaal and United came from games involving players from their hated rivals Manchester City.

City duo crocked

With the red and blue sides of Manchester looking likely to battle it out for the Premier League title this season – City currently lead the way, two points ahead of third-placed United – keeping your best players fit is crucial.

To that end City have suffered over the break with red hot striker Sergio Aguero ruled out for up to six weeks after picking up an injury playing for Argentina and David Silva up to a month after picking up a knock representing Spain.

The timing could not have been better for United who face City in a crunch Manchester derby when the Premier League resumes next weekend. 

But the implications could stretch beyond that game should United win and collect vital points while City are forced to soldier on without two of their most important players.

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