Manchester United injury news: Ashley Young ruled out for 'a very long time' after surgery ahead of Southampton tie

The latest injury updates from Manchester United ahead of this weekend's Premier League clash with Southampton

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has been dealt a severe blow in that Ashley Young has joined Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phil Jones on the injury list with what he described as a something that will keep him out of action "for a long time" ahead of the Premier League visit of Southampton.

Young will undergo surgery on an injured groin that he suffered in last week's 1-0 victory over Liverpool, and Van Gaal refused to give a fixed timscale for Young's return but admitted that it was a serious blow.

Along with Schweinsteiger, defender Jones has struggled to recover in time for this weekend's encounter, although his ankle injury did not prevent him from joining the United fans in the stands at Anfield to celebrate the 1-0 victory over Liverpool last time out.

Jones has not played since the 2-1 victory over Swansea on 2 January, in which he was replaced at half-time by Matteo Darmian, but Van Gaal revealed at his pre-match press-conference on Friday that the loss of Young would be a long-term one.

"Ashley Young has a severe groin injury, it shall be operated on, so he's [out] for a long time," Van Gaal told MUTV.

He added in his press conference: "I have used youngsters a lot of times and they are doing great but the level of Man United is high and to give a high performance every week is very difficult for the youngsters.

"That's why we have to look especially in the transfer period for replacements, but the difficulty is we ask for a level, so we are looking but it is not easy."

United sit fifth in the Premier League table and can leapfrog fourth-place Tottenham should Spurs slip up at Crystal Palace this weekend, although they have West Ham in close company after the Hammers’ surge up the table.

With captain Wayne Rooney back in form after scoring five goals in his last four outings, Van Gaal has been vocal in his belief that United can still win the Premier League title this season, although reports today suggest he will have to do so without any January reinforcements after United were believed to have shelved any transfer plans for the remainder of this month.

Van Gaal is still without long-term injury absentees Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia, with neither Shaw nor Valencia expected to return until April at the earliest, and the likelihood is that they will not play again this season. Rojo meanwhile is not due back from a dislocated shoulder until next month at the earliest.