Manchester United’s preparations for the opening game of the season were rocked by the news reported by The Athletic that Anthony Martial will not be fit to play.
Martial’s absence is a severe blow for Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, considering his form, and the lack of quality options.
Amid the frustration about this predictable and damaging injury blow, there is some good news for Erik ten Hag and Manchester United, from a fitness perspective.
There are two players who missed the matches at the weekend through illness, who are now expected to both be available for selection on Sunday against Brighton.
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Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho to be available
The Telegraph report: “Sancho is available again after returning from illness which forced him to miss the Atletico game on Saturday. Left back Luke Shaw had also missed that game in Norway due to sickness.”
Shaw was pictured in training on Thursday in images released by Manchester United on Instagram.
United’s early injury update on the club website also suggests both players will be available. This will be confirmed by Erik ten Hag in his press conference.
Erik ten Hag’s press conference is scheduled for 1.30pm on Friday. He will be quizzed about how he will replace Anthony Martial, and no doubt asked several questions about Cristiano Ronaldo and his fitness.
Sancho’s availability is key. He was instrumental in United’s early good form in pre-season, scoring three goals in the four matches he played.
It is near certain he will start. Luke Shaw is less certain to start, due to the very positive impression made by new signing Tyrell Malacia.
The decision was already looking like a 50/50 call for Ten Hag between the pair. If Shaw is anything less than 100 per cent, then Malacia will get the nod. But he’s back in training, and looking to earn his place.
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Donny van de Beek enjoying being back at Ten Hag’s Manchester United