By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Flagging Manchester United players “are in the red zone”, the point of fatigue where sportsmen are at a major risk of injury.
That is according to manager Louis van Gaal, who is set to rejig his team for this weekend’s FA Cup third round clash against Sheffield United.
United have played 30 games so far this season, the joint most of any Premier League side along with Liverpool and Manchester City.
Van Gaal has explained that the fixture schedule has taken its toll on the players, with six currently out injured and a number of others in the red zone due to overplaying.
Phil Jones has joined the casualty list, while Ashley Young is among those who Van Gaal fears could get injured if he continues to play.
“He (Young) is not injured, he is overloaded and in the red zone,” said the manager. “More players are in the red zone and we have to decide if they can play against Sheffield United or not.”
Meanwhile, long-term absentees Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo are progressing in their rehabilitations.
“All three are going very well,” said the Dutchman. “Shaw and Valencia also had a holiday break and they have come back very brightly and they have the spirit to continue so that’s very good.
“Rojo was here and shall also have a break at the end of January when it is possible for him. But it is going very well.”