Louis van Gaal has confirmed defender Paddy McNair will start for Manchester United during their Premier League clash against Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Dutchman is without the services of the first choice defenders Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans as the trio are sidelined with injury. McNair made his debut during United’s 2-1 victory over West Ham United last weekend.
With no other options available, Van Gaal has confirmed McNair will start, while hinted that Juan Mata could also be in the playing XI in the No 10 role.
Paddy McNair will play vs Everton. Van Gaal: "He's the only one who can play in the right-sided defensive position. He played very well."
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 3, 2014
“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,” Van Gaal said in his pre-match press conference.
“Juan Mata has played very well in his [Rooney’s] position. I have to choose. I will miss Wayne because he is the captain of the team but Mata can also play very well.”
Rooney picked up a red card against the Hammers and is suspended for the next three matches, starting with his former club Everton. Van Gaal confirmed United have eight players on the treatment table.
The list includes Jones, Smalling, Evans, Reece James, summer signing Ander Herrera, midfielder Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
“We have eight injuries and one red card so nine players are not available. It’s difficult to explain,” United manager explained.
“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,” he added.
United would be looking for nothing less than a win against Everton on Sunday after suffering defeat twice in the league in the home and away fixture last season. The fixture at Goodison Park was the last for former manager David Moyes as he was sacked following the defeat.
The result still haunts United fans and they desperately need a positive result over struggling Everton at Old Trafford. The Toffees have not got a good start to the league this season as they have only one win from the first six league matches, and this may be the best time for a reshaped United to play them.