Manchester United ace Jonny Evans has given Louis van Gaal fresh food for thought with regards to his injury problems this season, by pulling out of the Northern Ireland squad to face the Faroe Islands and Greece, according to the Daily Express.
Due to an ankle injury suffered during the 5-3 defeat to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium the centre-back has been missing for the last two matches, both of which resulted in 2-1 wins for the Red Devils. However, he was expected to make a full recovery in order to compete for his national side in the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers, only to be forced to pull out to prevent risking a aggravation.
Bad news for Evans
Whilst it’s bad news for his national side, who will be hoping to beat the Faroe Islands and at least pose a threat to Greece, it’s terrible news for Van Gaal, who finds his back-line even further depleted after having to use a makeshift setup in his recent matches.
Chris Smalling is on the road to recovery after suffering physical complaints himself, whilst youngster Paddy McNair, ironically introduced to the first-team to fill the void left by Evans, could be unavailable for as long as three weeks having picked up a hamstring strain.
On top of that usual starter Phil Jones has yet to prove he is at ready to play, although he might return to full fitness during the international break just in time for United’s clash with West Brom on October 20.
It now looks as though Van Gaal will be forced to use both Marcos Rojo and the returning Tyler Blackett, who missed out the match against Everton last weekend due to suspension, in central roles, despite the fact that both men are naturally wide players. Rojo was purchased largely on the basis of his performances for Argentina at left wing-back at this summer’s World Cup, whilst Blackett has spent most of his career playing as a full-back.
Importance of a result
Red Devils fans will be cursing their luck given that their side has recently started to build momentum. Two wins on the spin have catapulted United to 4th spot in the Premier League, and a win away at West Brom could prove pivotal heading into a clash with Jose Mourinho’s high-flying Chelsea on October 26.
The Blues are sitting atop of the Premier League after seven games, with last weekend’s 2-0 win over Arsenal leaving them a healthy five points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City.