Louis van Gaal: Michael Carrick won’t start against Newcastle United

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed Michael Carrick is unlikely to start against Newcastle United on Wednesday despite being on the bench for the 2-0 win over Sunderland last weekend.

The 33-year old recently returned to full training after suffering a muscle rupture at the end of January.

Van Gaal usually prefers his players to play for Man United’s U21s before they return to the first-team squad but Carrick was named on the substitute’s bench against the Mackems.

Despite this, van Gaal said Carrick is still not 100% and that he will need some time before coming back into his starting XI.

Speaking about the midfielder, van Gaal said: “I think it is too early for Michael Carrick.

“He trained now in three training sessions with us. Because of the three players I didn’t bring with us [against Sunderland], he was in the 18 and I took a risk with that.

“As a substitute, you can play 20 minutes, which he can do. He has the experience so I can make an exception. He is also a captain, so I can make an exception but it is not often I do that.”

Van Gaal will be eager for Carrick to come back given United have looked a much better team this season with him in it but the Dutchman is right to not take risks with his fitness.

Daley Blind has been employed in defensive midfield in Carrick’s absence and has impressed in recent games. Van Gaal will have to choose between the two when Carrick returns but it is a welcome problem to have given United’s midfield woes under David Moyes last season.

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