ManUtd.com's Nick Coppack blogs after a Friday audience with Sir Alex Ferguson...
August is for discussing the resumption of the football season, big-money signings and blazing sunshine. Not injuries, illness and fitness concerns.
And yet, given United's new campaign has begun in the same manner as almost the entire 2011/12 season panned out – hampered by injuries and having to field players out of position – Sir Alex Ferguson's most recent press conference was dominated by such depressing talk.
Wayne Rooney's injury in August's win against Fulham has added to Carrington's already crowded treatment room, although at least Ferguson could report that the deep gash sustained when the striker bravely blocked Hugo Rodallega's late shot should present “no complications” in terms of recovery. He's still due to miss four weeks.
“The fact it's a gash and not a ligament, muscle or joint injury means he can do a lot of work in the gymansium,” Sir Alex told those of us assembled inside the Academy building. “[The injury] is maybe a blessing because he can concentrate on his fitness now."
Later, the boss revealed Rooney had undergone a gym session on Thursday morning and confirmed “the minute he starts running he'll be involved on the football side of things”.
There was good news for David De Gea, too. The Reds defence, so far consisting of square pegs and stop-gaps, resembled a more recognisable back four last weekend, with Rio Ferdinand back for the trip to Southampton and Jonny Evans on the bench after coming through an Under-21s match unscathed. That, Sir Alex said, would allow Michael Carrick to adopt his preferred midfield role.
Who to leave out, though? Anderson and Tom Cleverley were both impressive against Fulham, while Shinji Kagawa looks destined to be one of the best buys of the summer. In the end, it was the Brazilian who had to make do with a spot on the