Manchester United face a defensive crisis ahead of their Premier League clash with West Ham on Saturday. First choice centre-backs Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are already injured while Chris Smalling is likely to miss out due to a leg problem.
Tyler Blackett, who was involved in five of six United’s competitive matches, will miss the game due to suspension. Michael Carrick was often used as a stopgap centre back by Sir Alex Ferguson, but he has just returned to training from a serious ankle injury and the game may have come too soon for him.
As a result, Louis van Gaal is considering the option of drafting in Paddy McNair from the Manchester United Under-21 squad. The 19-year-old joined the club three years ago and has yet to appear for the first team.
In all probability, the United manager will start with Daley Blind alongside Marcos Rojo in central defence, with Luke Shaw and Rafael operating on the flanks.
In hindsight, we can say the decision of sending Michael Keane on loan to Burnley was probably a mistake. The 21-year-old is far from ready to play week in week out for the club, but he could have been an ideal backup option, keeping in mind the injury records of Evans, Jones, and Smalling.
Manchester United must get back to winning ways if they are serious about qualifying for the Champions League. Following their shock 5-3 defeat against Leicester City in their last match, the 20-times Premier League Champions are lying 12th in the league table having taken only five points from as many games.