By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United’s casualty list has grown to a staggering 13 players, Louis van Gaal confirmed on Wednesday.
Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini, Matteo Darmian and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have joined the club’s extensive list of players unavailable due to illness or injury.
Van Gaal has been forced to select a string of rookies with no first-team experience for United’s Europa League clash against FC Midtjylland on Thursday night.
He was already without seven full-backs as well as midfield kingpin Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj.
The United manager will also have to do without Rooney, who is facing up to two months out with knee ligament damage, Fellaini (hamstring), Darmian (dislocated shoulder) and Borthwick-Jackson (ill).
Van Gaal is not happy with the number of injuries his steamlined squad have faced this season.
Speaking at his media briefing on Wednesday, the Dutchman said: “Our policy was not to have a big squad as we wanted to try youngsters in our team. Normally we don’t have 13 injured players. It’s ridiculous when you analyse it – they’re all contact injuries.
“With that policy, once or twice you have to back up the team with youngsters but injuries have happened every week this season.”
The manager admitted Rooney is facing a spell on the sidelines but stopped short of giving a timeframe on how long his captain will be out. “You can never say. He has a knee problem so we have to wait and see.”