Ralf Rangnick could be without up to nine of his first team players when his Man Utd side travel to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, with Ronaldo and Sancho left out on Monday
And ahead of that game, it was revealed that Rangnick had a few extra absentees due to injury, with some players being left out in order to prioritise their fitness ahead of this weekend’s clash.
And while there were some big names missing in Monday’s victory, injuries, suspensions and Africa Cup of Nations commitments will also impact the squad for Saturday.
Here is all you need to know about the current state of play at Old Trafford, including the potential return dates for those currently on the sidelines.
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Cristiano Ronaldo was a surprise omission from Man Utd’s squad to face Aston Villa on Monday, yet following the game it was revealed that it was a precautionary decision to leave him out.
The Portuguese international had been suffering with some minor muscular problems ahead of the game, so it is hoped that he will have recovered from those by Saturday.
Following Monday’s FA Cup win, Rangnick said: “I spoke with Cristiano [on Sunday] before training, he told me that he’s had some problems for the last couple of days. Minor problems, but in the end, we decided that it made more sense to not take any risks.”
Jadon Sancho was another player who was left at home for Monday’s game against Aston Villa, and like Ronaldo, he is also suffering from muscular injuries.
The extent of Sancho’s injuries are unknown, but if it is anything like Ronaldo’s, then it can be assumed he wasn’t involved in the squad in order to avoid risking further damage.
If this is the case, then there can be optimism that the injury could be overcome in time for Saturday’s trip to Villa Park.
Speaking ahead of Monday’s game, Rangnick was hoping that Harry Maguire would have recovered from his chest injury in time to be involved, although that was not the case.
However, the German manager also revealed following the game that Maguire has been unable to train, and so a further spell on the sidelines could be imminent, meaning that a question mark could still remain over his inclusion for this weekend.
In Monday’s post-match press conference, Rangnick said: “Harry hasn’t been able to train, as yet, and we have to wait and see how this develops, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. There is still a question mark.”
After making his first Man Utd appearance for 707 days in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves last Monday (Jan 3), Phil Jones was forced out of Monday’s FA Cup tie through injury once again.
Similar to both Ronaldo and Sancho, Jones had also reportedly been suffering with muscular issues ahead of the game, and Rangnick made the decision to not risk involving him.
Rangnick said: “Phil Jones will also hopefully be fit again on Saturday.”
Man Utd fans will have to wait even longer to see the return of Paul Pogba at Old Trafford, with the midfielder expected to be out for a further 4-5 weeks.
The Frenchman continues to recover from a groin injury he picked up on international duty in November, which looks to be taking its time to recover.
On Saturday, Rangnick said: “As far as I know, it would be a minimum of another 4-5 weeks before he is fit for training again. Right now, he’s not been part of the training group and, even if he was back, it will take time.”
Both Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay will miss out on the trip to Aston Villa through suspension.
The pair will miss one game after picking up their fifth yellow cards of the season in the 1-0 defeat to Wolves last week.
They will both be available again for the midweek trip to Brentford on Wednesday (Jan 19).
Eric Baily continues to miss out for the Red Devils whilst he represents Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations this month, and his return will depend on how far the Elephants make it in the tournament.
Anthony Martial also remains unselected for the squad due to his ongoing transfer saga, as he tries to force a move away from Old Trafford in the January transfer window.
The Frenchman last played for United in the 3-2 win against Arsenal at Old Trafford on December 2, coming on as an 88th minute substitute.