Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are all missing this weekend’s game through injury. Tyler Blackett, who Louis van Gaal gave his debut to this season, is unavailable after being sent off against Leicester.
The manager might be able to bring together a back four of Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Rafael da Silva, but he also has the option of letting more youngsters have a go.
Tom Thorpe, the Under-21 captain, and Paddy McNair will be in the squad for tomorrow’s game against West Ham.
“They are in the squad,” Van Gaal confirmed. “That is always why we have a youth education. It was also our policy [to utilise the youth squads] and always the policy of the club too.”
Blind might an option for left-back, but he won’t be playing in the centre of defence.
“I don’t like having too many left-sided defenders or left-footed players in defence,” he told MUTV. “I think always of balance so [instead] I have to pick up a right-sided central defender from the youth education. Normally, I am always doing things like that. I have already said that we have a lot of vacancies when you buy only six players and let 14 players go. The amount of injuries is worrying me and they are not coming back. Smalling is already, for the third time, injured. Evans also. Jones had one injury in the national team, which was unfortunate. I am a coach who has a lot of experience and I believe I was never in this situation before so it is surprising me. I am evaluating myself and my staff and also the players and what is wrong. But I cannot imagine what we are doing is at another level to [what I did at] my former clubs. So I have already adapted to a certain level that I think we can play during a game but I cannot train at a lower level.”