Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal as revealed that left-back Luke Shaw suffered a dead knee in United’s 2-1 victory over Everton on Sunday and had to be substituted so as not to aggravate the injury.
He told BBC sport in an interview after the game that ‘He has a dead knee. He could have made it worse, so that is why he stepped out’.
Initially it was feared that the young gun could have suffered a serious knee injury but the manager played down the severity of the injury claiming that his substitution on Sunday was a precaution against making it worse. As a testament to this, Shaw is expected to line-up for the England under-21 for their Euro qualification game against Croatia.
The ex-Southampton player who joined United over the summer has had his fair ride of challenges since making the move. He was told by Van Gaal during pre-season to shapen up which he accepted and threw himself into. Only to get injured on the eve of the league opener against Swansea.
He had to make his United debut against West Ham following the suspension of United academy graduate, Tyler Blackett who was called up as a stand-in. Since the beginning of the league, Manchester United has been plaqued by injury to their senior team players. It started with Michael Carrick who got injured and limited the teams options in the midfield.
Since the start of the league, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini have all paid a visit to the physios because of injury. The grippling effect and severity of the problem became apparent while during the pre-match interview of the game against West Ham, Van Gaal declared that he had only one fit centre-back Marcos Rojo and had to hand a debut to another United academy graduate Paddy McNair.
Since the beginning of the current campaign, Van Gaal has handed first team debut to several United graduates largely because of injury to his set of first team players. Three of these players are defenders namely, McNair, Tom Thorpe and Blackett. Van Gaal has been roundly criticised by the British press and pundits for failing to shore his defence when he could during the transfer window which has cost them to lose some winnable matches.
The height of United’s shoddy defence was severely exposed when they lost 5-3 to newly promoted Leicester City in the league despite leading 3-1 by half time. United cannot afford more injuries at this time. Any more injuries especially in defense can derail the team’s campaign in the premier league this season.
It is an embarrassment to a team of United’s calibre when small and average teams who usually dread a visit to Old Trafford now come expecting to leave with a point if they couldn’t win as Sunderland and Swansea did respectively.
Now is the time to build momentum and seek to fight the real fight that will see the title contest for the premier league title which is still within reach or at least a berth among the top 4 and qualification into Europe.