Valencia missed Stoke match due to a thigh strain

by Richard Laverty

Antonio Valencia missed Manchester United’s opening game of 2015 against Stoke City with a thigh strain.

The midfielder, who has been starring at right wing back lately came off at half-time against Tottenham Hotspur on the 28th due to injury but the cause wasn’t known until during Thursday’s match.

Valencia had been in good form and like his fellow winger Ashley Young had been thriving in his wing back role and provided the key pass against Liverpool that put United ahead.

Whenever United’s injury crisis seems to be appeasing though another player seems to pick up an issue. Young pulled up with a hamstring problem during the Stoke game whilst Valencia had already been ruled out of the match.

On the Daily Mail’s live coverage of the game, journalist Chris Wheeler wrote: “Antonio Valencia’s absence today is due to a thigh strain, we are told. Judging by the way United defended that corner, a few of the other players are carrying knocks too.”

Whilst the issue doesn’t sound serious, it’s unlikely Louis van Gaal would risk the Ecuadorian in a game against League One opposition and rely on his return against Southampton next week.

However, with Rafael and Luke Shaw now fit it gives the manager the opportunity to return to a back four but if rumours that van Gaal doesn’t rate Rafael are true, it will be interesting to see if Valencia comes back in to a back four or his return would force United to continue playing the 3-5-2 system.

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