Ander Herrera is said to be chomping at the bit to return to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United squad in time for Monday’s clash against West Brom, with the Spanish midfielder ready to declare his fitness if it means he can take a place in the starting XI.
According to the Telegraph, which adds substance to the recent reports that Herrera is on the mend far sooner than expected, the former Athletic Bilbao man - signed in the summer - will listen to advice from doctors with regards to the best course of action, but is desperate to play.
His pleas, regardless of whether they are listened to or not, will come as a welcoming boost for Van Gaal, who has seen his side suffer from a string of injuries which have threatened to destabilise their impressive run of form.
On top of the news concerning Herrera, Michael Carrick is also said to be on the brink of making his way back into Van Gaal’s plans, with the Dutchman mulling over the idea of letting the 33-year-old appear in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Burnley for the reserve team today.
The midfielder has been out injured since before the start of the season, but will provide United with a composed figure in the middle of the park when he’s available for first-team selection. The former England star is perhaps the most experienced player in Van Gaal's setup, meaning that the Red Devils boss will be eagerly awaiting his return.
On the transfer front the main news from today centres around the prospect of former United man Ryan Shawcross making a shock return to the club in January, with it speculated that there remains a release clause in his contract, smartly inserted by Sir Alex Ferguson, which makes a deal viable.
Van Gaal’s choices when it comes to experienced central defenders are thin, and a player of Shawcross’s obvious ability could be what’s needed to shore up a back-line left dangerously susceptible to attacks, following the departures of Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
Currently youngsters Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair have been used thanks to injuries and poor form concerning the trio of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans. Though neither have looked drastically out of place in the opening few fixtures, Van Gaal will be aware that more experienced heads are needed if an assault on major silverware is to be mounted properly.