Rangnick's team news bulletin

Friday 18 February 2022 13:30

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has provided an update on his squad ahead of Sunday's eagerly awaited encounter with Leeds United.

The Reds are playing in front of the Elland Road fans for the first time since 2003, when Cristiano Ronaldo helped Sir Alex Ferguson's side silence the crowd with a 1-0 win, thanks to Roy Keane's late goal.

This fixture ended 0-0 last term, when played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but United have won both home games convincingly against the Whites since their return to top-flight football.

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Unfortunately, striker Edinson Cavani is still unavailable, despite returning to training. The Uruguay international will not be an option in attack but may hope to return for the trip to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League in midweek.

Tom Heaton has also picked up an injury but there is more positive news on Rafael Varane, who is fit after being forced to pull out of the win over Brighton & Hove Albion close to kick-off due to illness.

"Well, as it seems, Edinson Cavani will still be out," explained Rangnick at his pre-match press conference. "He is still having some problems with his groin and, on the other hand, also some with his stomach. The same is true with Tom Heaton. Apart from that, everybody else seems to be available."

That would suggest Eric Bailly is also fit again and Nemanja Matic is on his way back.

"I'm grateful that we have more players back available again," added Ralf. "Nemanja Matic was back in training today for the first time and he did quite well, so he might be available, maybe even for tomorrow for Sunday against Leeds, but definitely in the next two games. And then we will have to see. We will take it one by one, we will try to start each of those three games [Leeds, Atletico, Watford] with a starting XI where we are convinced that we can win the next possible game."


Marcelo Bielsa could be boosted by the return of full-back Junior Firpo but he is still dealing with some big-name absentees. Patrick Bamford's foot problem keeps him sidelined, while Kalvin Phillips and Liam Cooper appear unlikely to play until next month.

Stuart Dallas is a doubt but has not yet been ruled out. "Dallas is recovering," said Bielsa. "He hasn't been written off from Sunday's game." Leo Fuhr Hjelde sustained a knee injury in the 3-0 loss at Everton last weekend and will be absent for at least three weeks - longer if the problem ends up requiring surgery.

Former Reds forward Daniel James is available and looks certain to play a key role for the Whites, although young striker Sam Greenwood is definitely still missing.