Manchester United vs Everton: Phil Jones ruled out as Paddy McNair and Juan Mata set to start, confirms Louis van Gaal

United are missing nine players including captain Wayne Rooney so Mata is likely to come into the side with 19-year-old McNair continuing

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The Independent Online

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.

 

“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.

McNair.jpg
Paddy McNair will be handed his second start for United

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.”

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