Aston Villa vs Manchester United: Angel Di Maria returns to training as Louis van Gaal reveals Sir Alex Ferguson talks

Both Di Maria and Luke Shaw have returned to training and could be included in the squad to face Villa on Saturday

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Louis van Gaal has revealed that both Angel Di Maria and Luke Shaw are back in training and could make a surprise return to action in Manchester United's weekend trip to Aston Villa.

Di Maria has not played for United since the end of November after he picked up a hamstring tear in the 3-0 win over Hull but the Argentinian has returned to this week and stands a chance of being included in the matchday squad.

However, Van Gaal did stress that Di Maria may have to wait and regain his match sharpness before he can return to the first-team squad, much like Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie have done.


Speaking at his Friday press conference, Van Gaal said: “Angel di Maria has trained this week with us so it’s always dependable how I have to compare with other players because he is not match fit after one week.

“What I’ve said about Robin van Persie and Falcao I also say about Di Maria. It’s a procedure and he has to follow it. Maybe I shall select him for the bench and maybe not. We have one training session to go.”

Di Maria joins the rest of the United squad in training

While van Persie has returned to play a prominent role in United’s six-match winning streak, Falcao has remained on the substitutes’ bench and has scored just one goal in 11 matches this season. Van Gaal was quick to stress that this was solely down to the Colombian’s fitness levels, and admitted that he is in the mix to start Saturday’s encounter against a struggling Villa side.

Left-back Luke Shaw has returned to training

“He didn't play so much and then you cannot see too much of a player,” Van Gaal continued. “And he didn't train so much because he was injured a lot of the time so first you have to be fit.

“I have said that three weeks or a month ago, the first demand is fitness of a player. And OK, we wait for the fitness of a player. Now he shows fitness in the training sessions so maybe I shall select him, maybe for the bench or the line-up. Wait and see.”

A clearly delighted Di Maria looks ecstatic to be back in training

The return of Michael Carrick appears to have helped United’s struggling defence, given that the English midfielder has started every one of their six victories in recent weeks. Rather astonishingly, Van Gaal revealed that he has been speaking to former manager Sir Alex Ferguson about the recent results, and while the Scot feels the players are doing well given it’s the result that matters, Van Gaal still wants them to up their performances.

Di Maria could return to the squad to face Aston Villa

"I have spoken with Sir Alex Ferguson," said Van Gaal. "He says there is not a problem. We have won. But for me it is also about the performance. If we perform well shall win more matches. That is what I want.