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Manchester United and England winger Ashley Young faces “a long time” out with a serious groin injury, manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed.
The 30-year-old, who needs an operation, was injured in last Sunday’s
1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield.
joined United from Aston Villa on a five-year deal in 2011, has made 23 appearances this season.
He has won 30 full England caps but has not featured for the national team since September 2013.
signed a new deal last summer that ties him to Old Trafford until at least 2018, has been one of United’s most impressive players this season despite often filling in at full-back.
His absence adds to a list of injuries in wide positions, prompting Van Gaal, whose side host Southampton on Saturday, to admit that he is looking to bring in new signings.
England left-back Luke Shaw suffered a
double fracture of his right leg in September, defender Marcos Rojo has had shoulder surgery and winger Antonio Valencia is a long-term casualty with a foot problem.
Full-backs Guillermo Varela, 22, and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 18, both made their first Premier League starts in the defeat at Bournemouth last month.
“I need full-backs,” said Van Gaal. “I have used youngsters a lot of times. Borthwick-Jackson and Varela are doing great, but the level at Manchester United is high.
“It is very difficult for youngsters to do that every week. That is why we have to look for reinforcements. We are looking but the clubs don’t want to sell. Everybody thinks it is easy, but it is not so.”
‘The pressure is a little bit gone’
His position has not been helped by speculation United are interested in Pep Guardiola, who is leaving Bayern Munich at the end of the season, and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who is without a club.
“I don’t think the press have to help me with my decisions,” Van Gaal said. “First they have sacked me, now they are interfering with my future. I don’t have to answer.”
Asked whether he was feeling any easier after a five-match unbeaten run, the 64-year-old Dutchman added: “The pressure is a little bit gone.
“We have to win. Our fans expect us to win, especially at home.”
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge will be absent for at least another 10 days as he continues to battle injury.
Sturridge, who has made only 10 Premier League starts since the beginning of last season, has not played since injuring a hamstring on 6 December.
Manager Jurgen Klopp says he will be patient over the England forward, 26.
“Out of responsibility, we have to do everything we can to give him the physical strength to be able to play Premier League football,” Klopp said.
“To have a player like Daniel in your squad is always a good situation, and when it’s not possible to use him, it’s not a good situation.
“He’s not with the team at the moment. But we have enough games this season when we hopefully can use him but not, if nothing happens, for at least the next 10 days,” he added.
Sturridge, who joined Liverpool from Chelsea for £12m in January 2013, has suffered a series of injury troubles during his time at Anfield.
He suffered four separate setbacks last season, including a torn hip muscle that required surgery, and has managed just six appearances in all competitions this term.
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BBC pundit Ian Wright on the frustration of recurring injuries – and the mental strength needed when out long-term.
Manchester United have denied that they met with Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola about the possibility of him replacing current boss Louis van Gaal.
France Football says the meeting took place last week in Paris, but United insist the story is not true.
Guardiola, 45, will leave Bayern Munich this summer and he said he has several offers from English clubs.
Manchester City are favourites to recruit the Spaniard, but Chelsea and United have also been linked with him.
Bayern Munich held a training camp in Doha during the Bundesliga winter break and will resume their campaign in a league game at Hamburg on Friday.
Guardiola, whose contract at Bayern expires in the summer, has previously talked of his wish to “experience a new city and work in England”.
He added: “I have several offers from England but I haven’t signed anything yet.
“I have an opportunity to work in England. I’m at the right age and I feel it is the right move for me.
“That is the reason I have taken this decision.”
Guardiola’s comments increased the speculation about his possible destination and he recently apologised for putting managers under pressure with his announcement.
“It was not my intention to offend anybody,” he said. “Normally in my career as a trainer and as a player, I respect my colleagues a lot.”
Aston Villa are in their worst “crisis” for decades, according to the club’s new chairman Steven Hollis.
The Midlands club are bottom of the top flight and 10 points from safety.
“In football terms, this is a crisis. This is the worst position this club has been in for many a decade,” Hollis told BBC Sport’s Pat Murphy.
Hollis insisted the “chequebook hasn’t been locked away” if manager Remi Garde wants to sign players and also defended club owner Randy Lerner.
United States-based Lerner, who bought Villa in 2006, announced at the end of last season he was
looking to sell the club and has been criticised by some of their fans.
Hollis pointed out that the club were “in the top six where the owner has put the most money in”, in a league including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
“Randy has actually put more than £200m in player signings, new money, coming into this over the last 10 years,” added Hollis.
The Villa chairman said “spending big cheques” was not going to help ease the club’s predicament and instead believes stability is the key.
“Five different managers in five seasons, how can new players coming in or existing players hired by the previous manager know what the game plan is?” he said.