Adnan Januzaj picked up a calf injury midweek in Manchester United’s Champions League match against Club Brugge, and has been ruled out of Sunday’s clash with Swansea City (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
It’s unfortunate for the 20-year-old Belgian, who had worked his way back into the starting lineup after spending most of last season on the bench.
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When Januzaj was taken off at halftime against Club Brugge, Ander Herrera moved into his spot as the No. 10, sitting behind Wayne Rooney in the United attack.
Herrera started the match in his usual defensive midfield role, but picked up a yellow card and looked a bit sloppy in his first start of the season. His move higher up in the formation looked to be precautionary to avoid another booking as United was winning easily, and Herrera went on to score in the second half. However, now it looks like he may be playing in that role moving forward.
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Ahead of Sunday’s match against Swansea City, Louis van Gaal was quoted as saying, “I started this season with Herrera as number 10 so it is possible. I had a theoretical scheme in my head that he could play as a 10, and he did well against Club Brugge.”
With the summer signings of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, it’s hard to find minutes in center of the midfield at Old Trafford. Herrera does have a bit of skill on the ball, and worked well with Rooney against Brugge in the Champions League.
Marouane Fellaini will also be available for Manchester United against Swansea, now that he is finished serving his three-match suspension. LVG has said he has plans for Fellaini to play as a striker as well, so it will be interesting to see how the lineup looks against Swans on Sunday.
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Then there’s Ashley Young, who was one of United’s best performers last season, but has been relegated to the bench with the signing of Memphis Depay and the emergence of Januzaj.
Even with all of this, Manchester United is still in the market for another attacker.