The recent injuries to Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford will provide serious warning signs to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United target Champions League qualification.
The Red Devils might sit second in the Premier League table, but disappointing Champions League and FA Cup showings this season have put pressure on their Norwegian manager.
Although Solskjaer played down the need to win a trophy this season earlier in the month, he might have been left feeling less comfortable of their league position after a string of injuries.
The latest fitness issue for United has come from Greenwood being forced to step down from international duty just days after Rashford missed their defeat against Leicester.
While United are hoping that Greenwood, 19, doesn’t have a serious issue, Solskjaer told BBC Sport of Rashford on Sunday: “No, he wasn’t close.
“We took him off and he thought he’d be ready but, yesterday, he had no chance of walking on his foot. The scans show there’s an injury there but, of course, we’ve got players coming back – Anthony [Martial] and Donny [van de Beek] coming back in, so there are positives as well.
”I don’t know [any timeframe for a return]. The doctor will speak to the English [FA] but I think he’ll travel and report for them. Maybe he’ll be fit for them.“
Rashford has indeed joined up with Gareth Southgate’s England squad, and expectedly missing training ahead of the World Cup Qualifier against San Marino on Thursday.
Although England fans will be hoping to see the 23-year-old take to the field at Wembley, Solskjaer might be hoping that his star forward gets some much needed rest.
While Greenwood has made 39 appearances in all competitions this season, he has only scored five goals.
Compare that to his 19 goals in 51 outings from 19/20, he might just need a rest.
Rashford is also behind in stats this time out with 18 goals in 45 appearances compared to 22 in 44, which could build up pressure on Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani.
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Solskjaer has been warned about relying on Martial by Roy Keane in the past, and his seven goals in 36 appearances suggest that he isn’t in the form to take on more responsibility.
The other senior forward at United, Edinson Cavani, has missed four of their last five fixtures in the Premier League, but did return off the bench against Leicester.
It remains to be seen how Solskjaer will manage Greenwood, Rashford, Martial and Cavani during the final stretch of the season, but the young trio could be forced to take risks with eyes on Euro 2020.
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