Louis Van Gaal knows his side has a long season ahead of them, and he isn’t taking any risks with his players’ health.
Michael Carrick has been ruled out of Manchester United’s Champions League match against Wolfsburg on Wednesday, while Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, and Antonio Valencia‘s are also likely to miss out through injury.
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Carrick played more than an hour in United’s weekend win over Sunderland, and Valencia played the full 90 minutes. Van Gaal did not specify the injuries or when they occurred, but said he was going to be cautious in his decisions.
I think Michael Carrick shall not play tomorrow [Wednesday]. The other two [Herrera and Valencia] we have to wait and see. They have minor injuries so I don’t want to take any risks.
Like we have done with Wayne Rooney, we will do the same for Michael Carrick or Ander Herrera. It’s the same because we have to play a full season and it’s better to withdraw players for one match than they play and get injured.
Without Carrick, LVG will likely start Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger as his holding midfielders. Schweinsteiger often splits time in that position with Carrick, although the veteran German did go the full 90 minutes in United’s previous Champions League match against PSV Eindhoven.
In that match against PSV Eindhoven, Luke Shaw suffered a broken leg which has ruled him out for the season. Now with Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia both suffering injures, United is a bit thin on the back line.
If Valencia is able to go, the Ecuadorian international will certainly get the start at outside back. But if he cannot, there could be a problem for Van Gaal. Phil Jones recently returned from injury and could get a run, although he is likely unable to go 90 minutes and would be playing out of position on the outside.
The only other defensive option would be Paddy McNair, but LVG would be unlikely to thrust the youngster into a Champions League match after only playing 20 minutes all season. Ashley Young played a bit of wing-back last season, and although he has moved back into his more familiar role on the attack, could be an emergency replacement if needed.