Carrick, 33, has been sidelined all season after undergoing ankle surgery but returned to training in the past couple of weeks on the road to recovery.
United have missed his calming presence in midfield and Van Gaal is happy with how his progress has gone so far after surgery: “He is, of course, injured but he is coming back from a heavy injury and he has trained the last two days on a lower level with the second team,” Van Gaal said.
“So that is [designed] to make the step easier for him to come back to play in a match because a player who is coming back from a heavy injury also has a little bit of fear to play with resistance.
“So that is why we let him train with the second team for the last two days. I think, after the international break, he can maybe play some minutes but we have to wait and see. He is doing well, better than we had expected.”
With Ander Herrera ruled out through injury, United’s midfield options are looking very thin so Carrick’s return to the squad will be a welcome addition.