Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been included in the Manchester United squad for the Champions League, raising the prospect he could return to action ahead of schedule.
The 35-year-old resigned for the Reds after being released in the summer.
He was not expected to be fit until January after undergoing knee surgery in May but he will be eligible for United’s Champions League group games against Basel, Benfica and CSKA Moscow after he was named in the 24-man squad submitted to UEFA.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals last season before he suffered a knee ligament injury in April.
But Manager Jose Mourinho previously indicated Ibrahimovic has no chance of playing any part in United’s Champions League group stage campaign and will not be fit until the second part of the season.
“I am not thinking Zlatan will play any part in the group phase,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think there is any chance of that. Do we have space in the Champions League list to have him? Yes, we have.
“Hopefully he can play in the knockout phase but for that we need to finish top two.”
Another surprise United inclusion is James Wilson who has been drafted into Mourinho’s plans and handed the number 29 shirt, despite not having played for the club since the 2015-16 season.