Erik ten Hag could just have one fit senior centre back available for Manchester United’s home clash with relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane took part in the World Cup final and so have had extra time off after the tournament, although at the pre-match press conference Erik ten Hag warned that Martinez “has to understand that on December 27, the Premier League is back”.
Harry Maguire was ill for Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie with Burnley and it is not known at this stage whether he will recover in time.
On this, Ten Hag said “I can’t answer because Harry is sick. I don’t know how that develops. We have to wait. Maybe the coming hours, maybe the coming days, and then we will see if he is available for Forest.”
This could leave Victor Lindelof looking for a partner.
It could be Casemiro, who played alongside thee Swede to great effect against Burnley.
However, Scott McTominay was disappointing in midfield and against Premier League opposition, Ten Hag might feel the Brazilian’s presence is necessary in the centre of the park, in which case the roles could be reversed, with the Scotsman at centre back.
Other options are the excellent academy star Rhys Bennett, who is training with the first team, the returning Axel Tuanzebe, or Luke Shaw could be used there with Tyrell Malacia holding the fort at left back.
If it is any other option than Casemiro, we expect him to move into the midfield at McTominay’s expense.
Elsewhere Aaron Wan-Bissaka is expected to keep his place at right back if Diogo Dalot has not recovered from the hamstring pull sustained at the World Cup.
David de Gea will, of course, return in goal after Martin Dubravka’s shaky outing in midweek.
With all that in mind, here is our predicted line-up for the game: