James Garner is in line to make his first ever Premier League start when Manchester United take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Manchester United will have the chance to climb up to fifth on the Premier League table when they lock horns with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, though, has fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The goalkeeping department is at full strength, with David de Gea set to start between the sticks once again. Manchester United have received a significant boost on the injury front in defence, with Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah returning to training this week.
During his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer provided an update on the quintet, as well as Nemanja Matic, another player who has recovered from his fitness troubles to resume training.
“Of course, it is always helpful when players are coming back and we have numbers in training. We shouldn’t expect too much of them because they have been out for a long, long time. Nemanja was injured in the international break that week. Luke has been out for three months now, more or less. At least they are training, training hard, and if we can give them some game time then that will be good.”
Judging by Solskjaer’s words, it is clear that none of the six players are ready to return just yet. Defence is, therefore, unlikely to see much of a change, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and former Sheffield United man Harry Maguire expected to retain their places.
The only shuffle at the back should see Ashley Young return in the left-back slot in place of Brandon Williams, despite some impressive performances by Williams lately. Young will don the armband for Manchester United.
The big concern, meanwhile, lies in midfield, with Scott McTominay sidelined for at least a couple of weeks due to an ankle injury. Solskjaer spoke on the Scottish international while also providing more clarity on when Paul Pogba could return.
“Scott will be out for a little while, still. He has not been training with us, he is still recovering and, hopefully, we can see him, maybe, around the time of Tottenham or [Manchester] City [next month]. We don’t know yet. he heals quickly, Scotty, but he is not going to be ready for Sheffield United or Astana, definitely. Probably not [Aston] Villa either.”
“Paul is improving. Obviously he has been out and, when you are in a cast for that long, you do lose your muscle, so gradually you have to step it up. He has not started on his football work yet so it will still be a little while before we see him.”
With Pogba and McTominay out, James Garner is in line to make his first Premier League start. Andreas Pereira is an option to play in a withdrawn role in the midfield double pivot alongside Fred. But, Fred should be partnered by Garner, with Pereira reprising the no. 10 role. The remaining three forwards pick themselves, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James set to start.
Predicted Manchester United XI: de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; Garner, Fred; James, Pereira, Rashford; Martial