Daley Blind has confirmed he is now back in training with Manchester United.
The Dutch midfielder injured his knee away on international duty with Holland and has been out of action for a number of weeks.
It was hoped Blind would be able to return after the festive period and now that he has begun training outside once again, his rehabilitation looks to be on schedule.
Up until he injured his knee, Blind was a crucial player for Van Gaal as he settled into his midfield anchor role straight away.
In his absence, Michael Carrick deputised very well but thanks to a defensive injury he has been forced to play at centre-back, so United are currently missing a dominant central midfielder who is able to sit in front of the defence.
When he is fully fit again, Van Gaal could find it difficult to fit both Blind and Carrick in the same starting XI.