Louis van Gaal could turn to Paddy McNair or Tom Thorpe to solve Manchester United's defensive crisis

Dutch coach is missing four centre-backs for the match at Old Trafford

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The Independent Online

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is set to name two youngsters to his squad to face West Ham because of a shortage of defenders.

With Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all injured and Tyler Blackett suspended for the game at Old Trafford, Van Gaal will turn to youth team players Paddy McNair and Tom Thorpe.

Such is Van Gaal's shortage that Luke Shaw will make his debut, Marcos Rojo will move from left-back to the centre and then the manager will decide whether to play one of the youngsters or Darren Fletcher in the other centre-back role.

“They are in the squad,” said Van Gaal. “That is always why we have a youth education. It was also our policy [to utilise the youth squads] and always the policy of the club too.”

Both were unused subs in the embarrassing defeat at MK Dons, and while Daley Blind can play centre-back, Van Gaal has admitted he would prefer to play a right-footed player rather than two (Blind and Rojo) who are left-footed.

 “I don’t like having too many left-sided defenders or left-footed players in defence,” he added.

“I think always of balance so [instead] I have to pick up a right-sided central defender from the youth education. Normally, I am always doing things like that. I have already said that we have a lot of vacancies when you buy only six players and let 14 players go.”

Van Gaal has nine players missing from the match: “The amount of injuries is worrying me and they are not coming back.

“Smalling is already, for the third time, injured. Evans also. Jones had one injury in the national team, which was unfortunate.”

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