Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal green-lit the signings of six new players this summer to the tune of over £150 million. But after three league matches, only two of those new arrivals, Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria, have played in a Premier League fixture; and neither one played during the same contest.
Luke Shaw was injured during United’s preseason tour of the United States, Herrera was substituted after 67 minutes in the club’s season opening defeat to Swansea City, Marcos Rojo has yet to suit up for the Red Devils due to a lingering issue with his work permit, Di Maria made his league debut against Burnley two weeks ago; and the rest of the new signees (Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao) were finalized as the international break began.
United have struggled during the early part of the season due to a lack of depth in their squad, injuries and the departures of long-time servants: Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra.
The club have faced scrutiny from a section of fans and the media after disappointing results that have seen the club only secure two points out of a potential nine in their opening three Premier League contests (Swansea City, Sunderland and Burnley); as well as an embarrassing 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat to League One side, MK Dons.
But as the Premier League fixtures resume this weekend, Louis van Gaal has received a fitness boosts from players in United’s first team that should drastically improve his team selection, as the club prepare to host Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford this Sunday.
Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera have been training and expect to be in contention for a start against QPR. The Spanish midfielder took to his Twitter account to announce that he was in contention for a place in Louis van Gaal’s side this weekend:
Marcos Rojo had his work permit issues sorted out last week and is coming of a solid 90 minute performance for Argentina during their 4-2 victory over the defending World Cup champions Germany; a match which saw fellow United teammate Angel Di Maria put in a world class performance (three assists, one goal).
Radamel Falcao came in as a late substitute for Colombia during their 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Monday. The former AS Monaco striker only put in a short shift, but the newest United arrival looked very strong and close to 100% fitness following his return from the serious knee injury he suffered in January.
And rounding out the reports on United’s new signings, Daley Blind is expected to feature in the Netherlands EURO 2016 qualifier later today against the Czech Republic.
Should Blind complete the 90 minutes unscathed, Louis van Gaal will be able to select from all six of his summer arrivals for the first time in this very young Premier League season.
The Dutch manager has also received a fitness boost from United right-back Rafael da Silva. The Brazilian posted a picture of himself from 2009 on his Instagram page with the comment: “5 years ago young skinny Rafael good memories. Back in training ready to help. Let’s go.”
Despite the positive news, United have been dealt an injury scare as defender Phil Jones limped off the pitch in the 77th minute yesterday, during England’s 2-0 victory over Switzerland in their EURO 2016 qualifier. Speculation is Jones suffered a hamstring injury which the player is having assessed in Manchester today. The hope is that injury is minor and Jones will be able to face QPR on Sunday.
In other injury news, Michael Carrick is nearing a return as it is being reported that the midfielder has started his rehabilitation from ankle surgery.
Initial reports in July stated that Carrick could miss up to 12 weeks following the procedure to repair his damaged ankle. But the player is ahead of schedule and could see his return date pushed to an earlier date, perhaps late September or early October.
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