By Alex Stevens
Henrikh Mkhitaryan piled on six pounds of muscle to prove to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho that he was ready to earn a first-team recall, according to a report.
The Sun claim the summer signing from Borussia Dortmund went to extraordinary lengths to build up his fitness and increase his strength after being frozen out by Mourinho.
It is said he did extra gym and weight sessions on his days off and gave up his free time to prove that he had what it takes to be in the first team.
Mkhitaryan was axed for two-and-a-half months after his performance in United’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League in early September.
Mourinho made it clear he was unhappy with the 27-year-old’s fitness levels and said the attacking midfielder “wasn’t ready” to play in key fixtures for the Premier League giants.
But Mkhitaryan was welcomed back into the fold at the end of last month and has now started three of team’s last four matches and was a second-half substitute in the fourth of those encounters.
The Armenia international was awarded the man-of-the-match for his performance in last Wednesday’s 4-1 League Cup triumph against West Ham in which he supplied two assists.
In total, Mkhitaryan has made just 10 appearances for the United, and made only four starts for the club.
He was expected to be a first-team regular when he joined from Dortmund after a sensational season in the Bundesliga in which he scored 23 goals and supplied 32 assists in 52 matches.
In other Manchester United news, Everton are eyeing up an Old Trafford regular whom is keen to make the move.