Manchester United will be without one first-team star when they head to Italy this evening…
The Red Devils face AS Roma in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie, and arguably they already have one foot in the final, having won 6-2 at Old Trafford last week.
However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t be able to call upon Daniel James after ruling him out ahead of tonight’s kick-off.
He told reporters, via the club’s official website:
“We didn’t get any injuries at the weekend. We trained well after that but Dan James is not available. He’s still out for a little while.”
This will come as an annoying blow to the Manchester giants, even if they are in a very strong position.
It would be a massive surprise to see the Serie A outfit turn around a four-goal lead, especially after their capitulation in the first leg, so to not have a player that was in line to start this sort of encounter is certainly a setback.
James has started three of United’s last six league games, when fit and has emerged as an interesting option on the wing in the recent absence of Anthony Martial, who also remains out.
The 23-year-old did not feature in the 6-2 whitewash but was named on the bench, and given Solskjaer is likely to rotate his squad tonight, James would have undoubtedly been in line to start the match.
He has featured in all but one of their Europa League matches since exiting the Champions League group stages earlier this year, starting five of seven outings, as per Transfermarkt.
Solskjaer may be understandably angry to not have him available here.
Furthermore, United’s crucial game with Liverpool on Sunday was postponed due to a fan demonstration inside and outside the ground, as well as at the team’s hotel.
That game will now be played in a week’s time, meaning they’ll have four games in the space of a week, making the need for rotation tonight all that more important so not having James available is a huge blow.
Without the Welshman, Solskjaer will now frustratingly need to turn to one of his usual starters, one that he would have probably liked to have seen rested ahead of a tough week against Aston Villa, top-of-the-table rivals Leicester City, and now their Merseyside enemies.
In his absence, we could see teenage starlet Anthony Elanga, who could make his senior debut after being named in the 24-man squad, feature whilst Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Juan Mata will also make the trip.
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