Luke Shaw injury: Who will replace the left-back in Manchester United's defence after horror injury against PSV Eindhoven?

The 20-year-old defender looks set for a lengthy lay-off

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Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw will have an operation today after suffering a double leg fracture in last night's 2-1 Champions League defeat to PSV Eindhoven.

The horrific injury, sustained when Shaw was scythed down under Hector Moreno's robust challenge, looks likely to keep the 20-year-old out of action for at least six months.

After an 8-minute delay, during which the former Southampton player was lifted onto a stretcher and supplied with oxygen, he was replaced by Marcos Rojo, who slotted in alongside Chris Smalling at centre-half. Daley Blind, who was previously partnering Smalling in the middle, moved into the vacant left-back position.

 

However, what followed at the Philips Stadion did not bode well for the next few months if this is how Louis van Gaal intends to set up his defence. Both PSV's goals could be traced back to Shaw's injury.

The first, Moreno's header from a corner, deflected off Blind, whose marking duties on set-pieces had changed following his switch to the left flank.

Luciano Narsingh's winner, meanwhile, was directly the fault of Rojo, Shaw's replacement, who was playing his first meaningful minutes since the Copa America. The Argentine's terrible positioning left Narsingh free at the far post, allowing him to  apply a simple finish unmarked.

Although many of his side will have been understandably shaken by the injury to Shaw, Van Gaal cannot use the incident to excuse the defeat, particularly from a winning position.

Given Shaw's lay-off, as well as Phil Jones' ongoing blood clot problem, he now must now re-think his defensive set-up before Sunday's trip to Southampton.

Who will replace Luke Shaw in the back four for Southampton? Here are the options:

Marcos Rojo

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Shaw's replacement last night did not cover himself in glory. Smalling, one of the few players to come out of the performance with any credit, seemed inhibited alongside the rusty Argentine, who looks a long way from finding match sharpness. If Van Gaal can avoid playing the defender, he should.

Antonio Valencia

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Blind, despite looking nothing like a centre-half, has generally performed well enough in the role so far this term. By switching Darmian to left-back, despite his off-night against PSV, and replacing him with Valencia on the right, Van Gaal could keep Smalling and Blind together in the centre and build on a blossoming partnership.

Michael Carrick

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Dropping Carrick into the back four, as Van Gaal did at the back end of last season, would allow both Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger to play in front of the defence, offering a little more impetus in midfield. The vice-captain, meanwhile, could slot in alongside Smalling, with Blind at left-back and Darmian on the right.

Paddy McNair

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An understudy, McNair often found himself thrown into the fray during Van Gaal's first season. He is, however, yet to feature this term and will be considered a last resort. Only to be turned to if United's backline suffers yet another injury.

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