Louis van Gaal has revealed that Sunday’s meeting with Everton will come too soon for defender Phil Jones to play in, meaning 19-year-old Paddy McNair will continue his run in the first team after making his debut last weekend.
Jones has been ruled out since picking up a hamstring tear during England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland last month, and has missed the last three weeks that saw United plunged into an injury crisis at the back.
The 22-year-old was aiming for a return against the Toffees, but Van Gaal confirmed that he won’t be available this weekend.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Van Gaal said: “We still have three central defenders injured so he [McNair] shall play. He is the only player who can play in the right-sided defensive position. I chose him last week and he was very good. It's difficult for a player like him to maintain that level - that is his biggest challenge.
Manchester United injury list
Manchester United injury list
1/5 Wayne Rooney
There is uncertainty over the extent of the Manchester United captain's injury, with fears he may have suffered ligament damage to his knee during the 3-0 defeat to Everton. Unlikely to feature against West Brom and could miss the rest of the season.
2/5 Michael Carrick
Having limped off in the 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City, it's uncertain if the England midfielder will fit for this weekend. Was unable to even make the bench for the defeat to Everton.
The right-back's return to action has suffered a set-back. After making a short appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham in March, the Brazilian has been pushing for full fitness. However he suffered a blow to the ribs in an Under-21 match against Leicester and could miss the rest of the season.
4/5 Marcos Rojo
Having missed the games against Chelsea and Everton due to a groin injury, the Argentina international is pushing for a return and could feature this weekend.
5/5 Phil Jones
Fellow defender Phil Jones also missed the defeats to Chelsea and Evertton but the England international has returned to training after a foot complaint and could play at against West Brom.
“We have eight injuries and one red card so nine players are not available. It's difficult to explain. You can be fit but not match fit - that's a big difference. For example, Ander Herrera is fit but he cannot play because of his rib pressure. Marouane Fellaini has trained for one week but is not fit to play 90 minutes.”
Van Gaal also spoke on the absence of his captain Wayne Rooney. The United skipper will serve the first of a three-match ban after he was shown a straight red card for kicking out at West Ham’s Stewart Downing last weekend during United’s 2-1 victory.
The Dutchman confirmed that since Rooney is unavailable, Juan Mata is likely to deputise in the No 10 role behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, having been named on the bench in previous weeks after the arrival of United’s summer signings.
“Juan Mata has played very well in his [Rooney's] position,” added van Gaal at the pre-match press conference. “I have to choose. I will miss Wayne because he is the captain of the team but Mata can also play very well.
“Who will captain the team? You shall see. I have told the players but you shall see on Sunday.”Reuse content