Manchester United were dealt another injury blow on Saturday when Spanish media reported that goalkeeper David de Gea had dislocated a finger on his right hand while training with the Spanish national team ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier against Belarus.
The news was confirmed by the official Manchester United Twitter account:
The Spain national team report David De Gea has dislocated a finger on his right hand. He remains with the squad where he will be assessed.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 14, 2014
The injury is still being assessed and it is not clear how long the goalkeeper will be sidelined. But a finger dislocation for a goalkeeper is usually 2-3 weeks out, so manager Louis Van Gaal will have to be without the Spaniard for a considerable spell.
Danish international Anders Lindegaard is the obvious replacement, although the Dane has recently expressed his dissatisfaction at being the clear second choice at Old Trafford.
Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who is currently working on a rehabilitation program at Old Trafford, is rumoured to be fit to play, but with the signing of the Spaniard not yet formally announced, or even supposed to happen, there are doubts as to whether Valdes will don the gloves for Van Gaal.
Whatever the case, it will certainly be interesting to see who lines up for United as goalkeeper in their game at the Emirates on November 22.
Manchester United have had a lengthy injury list this season, with a number of first-choice players being out injured for large spells of the season. Currently, Phil Jones, Johny Evans, Rafael and Radamel Falcao are on the treatment table, and they are not expected to be fit for next Saturday’s clash against Arsenal and the Emirates.
Chris Smalling is still serving part of his suspension for a red card against Manchester City, so United recently had to line-up with a makeshift centerback pairing of Paddy McNair and Michael Carrick, who has just returned from a lengthy injury layoff.
David De Gea had recently remarked how it was difficult for him to be playing with a new defense every week, which gave very little time for an understanding to develop between the players.
“As a goalkeeper it’s important to form a good understanding with your back four and become familiar with each other’s positions on the pitch. It’s difficult when the players aren’t there but you have to adapt and concentrate on your job. The experience has definitely helped me improve.
“We would never use excuses but it’s always going to be a big setback when we have injuries and some sendings-off as well. It makes everyone’s work that bit more difficult.
“In terms of maintaining a solid level of performance we need to have the consistency of players in the squad so hopefully everyone will be fit very soon. That will help us continue to improve.”