Early team news for Watford clash
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a number of injury concerns to contend with ahead of Manchester United’s return to Premier League action against Watford this weekend.
The Reds will be back at Old Trafford for the first time since our 3-2 win over Southampton on 2 March, when Javi Gracia’s in-form Hornets side visit on Saturday (kick-off 15:00 GMT).
We assess where the squad is at following the final international break of the season and the options which could be at Ole’s disposal…
David De Gea, who helped Spain beat Norway 2-1 last Saturday but sat out Tuesday's 2-0 win at Malta, is expected to return in goal to maintain his ever-present record in the Premier League this season. He would replace Sergio Romero, who impressed in our Emirates FA Cup tie at Wolves before the break but wasn’t involved in Argentina’s friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco.
Ashley Young is back in contention to face his former club on Saturday after serving an FA Cup suspension against Wolves last time out. Eric Bailly reportedly suffered a head injury on duty for Ivory Coast during their 3-0 win over Rwanda, in which he scored his second international goal, and didn't play in Tuesday's 1-0 friendly victory over Liberia. Victor Lindelof didn’t go away with Sweden, however club captain Antonio Valencia, who hasn’t featured for the Reds since our 2-0 win at Newcastle on 2 January, returned to action for Ecuador in Friday's 1-0 defeat against the USA but didn't feature in Tuesday's goalless draw against Honduras. It remains to be seen if Luke Shaw will be fit for Saturday’s game after the left-back withdrew from the England squad through injury. Phil Jones has also been an unused substitute in recent weeks, including at Wolves on 16 March, and could be closer to a first outing since our 3-0 win at Fulham on 9 February. Matteo Darmian hasn’t played since the 2-1 win over Brighton on 19 January, while Marcos Rojo still awaits his first appearance under Solskjaer but has been pictured training recently following his recovery from injury.
Nemanja Matic, who recently missed four successive games for United through injury, was ruled out of Serbia’s matches against Germany and Portugal during the break. Ander Herrera recovered from the injury which forced him off in the first half against Liverpool on 24 February to make his comeback at Molineux in our last match, while fellow Spaniard Juan Mata returned from the injury he also suffered against Liverpool as a late substitute against Wolves. Writing in his blog last Sunday, Juan said:
“In terms of training sessions, this week has been a very positive one for me. I have made the most of the chance to get in top shape after making my return in the FA Cup not long ago. I am feeling good and I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the team as much as possible.”
Solskjaer could have a selection dilemma in attack to contend with. Jesse Lingard, who returned to action against Wolves in our last game, wasn’t called up by England and instead worked on his fitness by training in Dubai. Marcus Rashford had to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad through injury and Anthony Martial also pulled out of his international commitments with France due to a recurring knee complaint. Romelu Lukaku sat out Belgium’s two Euro 2020 qualifiers with the foot injury which led to him missing our FA Cup tie at Wolves, while Ole has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez isn’t expected to return until late April after sustaining a knee injury in our last home game against Southampton.
Ole could give an update on the squad in his exclusive interview with MUTV or pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex on Friday, which you can follow in the Official Manchester United App.
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