By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial have been ruled out of Manchester United’s Premier League trip to Watford on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal revealed at his media briefing on Friday that skipper Rooney is ill, while Martial misses out with the foot injury he sustained playing for France against England on Tuesday night.
The United manager expects the team’s two senior strikers to be available for the Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven next Wednesday but the club are short of options up front for the Vicarage Road clash.
With Marouane Fellaini, who was used as an emergency striker against Liverpool earlier in the season, still injured – as well as Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick – Van Gaal could be forced to turn to rookie James Wilson to lead the attack.
However, Wilson has made just two appearances all season due to injury, and the Dutchman admits the youngster isn’t ready to play 90 minutes.
But there is some good news for United in the shape of Van Gaal’s Martial bulletin. The Premier League club were sweating on the fitness of the teenage striker after he was filmed holding crutches and with his left foot in a bandage after France’s 2-0 defeat to England at Wembley.
Asked how long the 19-year-old will be absent, Van Gaal replied, “Not long”.
Martial has slotted in impressively at Old Trafford since his sensational deadline-day move from Monaco in the summer.
He has scored five goals and his pace in the final third gives Louis van Gaal a different option to his other attackers.