Manager Louis van Gaal said Manchester United have only one senior centre-back available for Saturday’s Premier League game against West Ham.
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has admitted that he only has very limited choice for his defensive selection for the game against West Ham as only summer signing Marcos Rojo is fit to start. Chris Smalling (leg), Phil Jones (hamstring) and Jonny Evans (ankle) are injured and Tyler Blackett is suspended from getting a red card against Leicester City.
Van Gaal said, “All three of my right-sided centre-halves are out, so I’ll have to go to the youth system.”
“The younger players are always ready. They can have their chances now. That is also the policy of this club. They have hunger to play the game and Manchester United youth education has a certain level that can provide that. It’s a big difference (between youth football and the Barclays Premier League), but in one game you can show yourself.”
Potential candidates to get a game include Tom Thorpe, 21, and Paddy McNair, 19. Neither players have got a chance for the first team so far and could capitalize the injury situation in their favor and try to come more in the first team picture with good games.
“I won’t take risks with players – they have to be fit,” said Van Gaal, who is without nine players in total through injury.
Midfielders Daley Blind or Darren Fletcher could also be employed as centre-backs by United, who are currently lying 12th in the table with only one win from their first five games.
On the brighter side, summer signing Luke Shaw is expected to make his debut at left-back following his £28m summer arrival from Southampton. Fellow summer recruit Marcos Rojo is thus likely to move to centre-half against the Hammers.
The Dutchman was questioned if there was a sense of panic after United lost to Leicester last week with a shocking 5-3 scoreline, and let go of there 3-1 comfortable lead, he replied, “No. It’s happened – it’s about overcoming things. It’s not a regular occurrence. When you see our figures in the Premier League – with the exception of the Leicester match – then we are defending well. I don’t think my players are robots – they are human beings and human beings make errors.”