Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes is set to make his debut for the Red Devils against League Two outfit Cambridge United in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night.
The 33-year-old, who signed an 18-month contract with United earlier this month, has not played competitive football since last March - when he sustained the cruciate knee ligament which scuppered his planned move to AS Monaco.
Ten months after suffering that injury while playing for Barcelona against Celta Vigo, Valdes is poised to make his first appearance for Manchester United, according to the Telegraph.
Opportunity for Valdes
The Spaniard will have his first opportunity to show Van Gaal that he can put pressure on David de Gea for the No. 1 jersey at Old Trafford.
As things stand De Gea is Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper - and that is not excepted to change, unless the 24-year-old leaves the Red Devils for Real Madrid this summer.
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De Gea contract concerns
De Gea’s contract expires in the summer of 2016 and fans are becoming increasingly concerned that United’s decision to sign Valdes on a free transfer was the first major indication that their current number one could leave the club in the near future.
With contract talks seemingly at a standstill between De Gea, his agent and Manchester United - Van Gaal will be hoping that Valdes can rediscover his best form in case Real Madrid end up signing De Gea later this year.
Cambridge tie: Potential banana skin
A trip to the Abbey Stadium to face Cambridge represents a real banana-skin of a cup tie for Manchester United, who simply must win this match and book their place in the fifth round draw.
The likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria will be expected to shine, while Valdes will be under pressure to keep a clean sheet on his debut.
But this shouldn’t faze the vastly-experienced shot-stopper who played under the intense spotlight at the Camp Nou for 12 years.
Valdes is one of the most decorated goalkeepers in football history, having won three Champions Leagues, six La Liga titles, plus the World Cup and European Championships with the Spanish national team.
A trip to Cambridge will not overawe Valdes - but will he keep a clean sheet? Have your say in the comments below.