Two under-21 defenders in Manchester United squad to face West Ham

Patrick McNair

Louis van Gaal has called up Tom Thorpe and Patrick McNair from the Manchester United under-21 squad for today’s game against West Ham.

The Dutch manager is bereft of centre-back options today with Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling all out injured, and Tyler Blackett suspended.

Luke Shaw is expected to debutise at left-back following his recovery from an injury picked up pre-season. The 19-year old’s return will allow Marcos Rojo to move to centre-back where he is accustomed.

Football journalist James Ducker from The Times is saying that van Gaal is seriously considering starting McNair alongside Rojo as part of a makeshift back four today.

19-year old Patrick McNair has previously not been close to making his first-team debut for Manchester United previously since arriving as a holding midfield from Northern Ireland three years ago.

As well as Tom Thorpe being in the squad, Daley Blind is also an option at centre-back for van Gaal.  Although he is also left-footed like Rojo the versatile player has experience at playing in the middle of a defence.  However the manager may not wish to shuffle his squad too greatly.

Rafael and Antonio Valencia are both available to start at right-back for Manchester United who take on West Ham at 3pm today.

Louis van Gaal is confident that he will improve the players’ fitness and lower their injury frequency.  In his interview he went on to make a comparison with Arjen Robben during his time at Bayern Munich:

“But I have good hopes that we shall improve in that matter, because normally I don’t have any injuries. Robben is a good example — for a player who was many times injured, in my season he was never injured.”

As ever this season all eyes will be on who Louis van Gaal names in his starting XI for today’s game at Old Trafford.


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