Football: Zlatan set to miss Manchester United's tour of China

Zlatan Ibrahimovic addresses a news conference at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, in 2014.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic addresses a news conference at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, in 2014.PHOTO: AFP

London (Guardian) Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be left behind by Jose Mourinho when Manchester United fly to China on Tuesday, with the manager considering handing the striker his friendly debut against Galatasaray on July 30 or Everton on Aug 3.

Ibrahimovic signed for United on a free transfer on July 2 following Sweden's participation in Euro 2016. They were knocked out of the championships on June 22. Under Fifa rules all players must have a minimum three-week rest after a tournament.

This means Ibrahimovic is available to take part in the eight-day tour of China but it is understood Mourinho may not take the player who turns 35 in October. The manager wants to give Ibrahimovic, who is on holiday in America, extra rest before the Premier League season.

After facing Borussia Dortmund on July 23 in Shanghai and Manchester City in Beijing three days later, United play Galatasaray on July 30. As this is in Gothenburg, Mourinho may decide it is an apt venue for Ibrahimovic to play his first match for the club. If not, then Ibrahimovic will feature against Everton at Old Trafford on July 3 in Wayne Rooney's testimonial.

United's England contingent of Rooney, Chris Smalling and Marcus Rashford began their holiday after Roy Hodgson's side were eliminated by Iceland on June 27. While all three are expected to be named in the squad for China they will not feature, Mourinho has said.

His other two signings, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan , are set to travel to China having trained for the first time with the squad on Wednesday.

Ilkay Gundogan, Mhkitaryan's former Borussia Dortmund team-mate, has warned the Armenia captain may need careful managing at the start of his United career, having struggled when first joining the German club.

"He has been at Dortmund for three years," said Gundogan, who is now at Manchester City . "The first two years were not so easy for him, to be honest. He's a player who needs self-confidence, who needs to play every time and prove himself to get better and better. At this time, we (Dortmund) were not so successful, so it was not easy for him to adapt. He had a few problems.

"But when you see how he played last year, it was really incredible. Maybe he was the most important player for us last year. If he can go on like this, he will have a big impact for Manchester United, and a big plus. It's difficult for us to beat them, of course, but I wish him the best, and to stay healthy."