Louis van Gaal still faced with left-back problem at Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

Louis van Gaal is a firm believer that squad rotation could be crucial to Manchester United’s chances of success this season but will have to make do without Marcos Rojo against Wolfsburg.

The Argentinian defender only made his first appearances of the season against Swansea and Southampton after a long summer break following his involvement in the 2015 Copa America, but has recently suffered an unfortunate hamstring injury in training.

By the sounds of it, Rojo will not play Wolfsburg and speaking about Man United’s chances in Europe, van Gaal emphasised how difficult it is to find the right balance with so many competitive games coming up.

Speaking to ManUtd.com, van Gaal said: “The difficulty is that all these players are in a rat race and that takes a lot out of the players, which is why you have to rotate and that is what I am doing now because I have to protect my players.

“I am unlucky because I have only one position that is not doubled and that is the position from Luke Shaw, but I had a double because I had Blind and I had Rojo. But now who is injured? Rojo!

“Rojo has not played so much. He has trained for three or four weeks very hard, then he played for Argentina for 70 minutes, 50 minutes against Swansea City and then 70 minutes in the last match at Southampton. It was a very good building up but he is injured; that is unlucky.

“We can solve the problem with other players but not a specialist like Shaw. Blind is not the specialist. Rojo is more of a specialist because he plays that position for Argentina, which is why he played the last time there. The left full-back position demands more of the capacity of a player.

“I say we have to play Sunday-Tuesday, Sunday-Wednesday, so between the matches we cannot recover all of the tiredness. Then we have to play against a European squad who is willing to give everything against us. They don’t have a rat race in their competition and that is the difference.”

It’s a tough situation for van Gaal to replace Shaw because up until his injury he was United’s best player this season and nobody is going to be able to fully replace that.

On paper, Rojo is the main option but it is a worrying situation that he’s hardly played any football and we’re about to go into October. Also, I’d prefer to see Matteo Darmian stay at right-back because of how good he has done there (and the fact Antonio Valencia categorically should not be in our starting XI).

With big games against Wolfsburg and Arsenal within the next seven days, whoever plays at left-back will have to be on top of their game.

Latest Top Stories...