Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28
Manchester United's Twitter account provided an update on Ander Herrera's status:
Van Gaal confirms Herrera remains injured & Rojo is still waiting on his work permit. "We have 10 injuries... one more than last week."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 28, 2014
Manchester United's wave of injuries continues to mount, as the club confirmed on Friday that Spanish star midfielder Ander Herrera would not recover in time from a training injury to face Sunderland on Sunday.
Van Gaal tells #MUTV four midfielders are injured for Sunderland: Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 22, 2014
According to the Daily Mirror's David McDonnell, the 25-year-old injured his ankle in training on Thursday, with doctors expecting him to be sidelined for the next two weeks.
ESPN FC's Alex Shaw couldn't believe the club's luck:
Now Herrera is injured for Man Utd. The absolute state of that midfield. Where do they do training, at Carrington or under enemy fire?— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) August 22, 2014
The Sport Bible's Liam also couldn't help himself:
Is anyone free this Sunday to play for Manchester United as they can't seem to form an XI through injuries? A CM preferably.— Liam (@OffsideLiam) August 22, 2014
The Red Devils' rash of injuries can likely be attributed to a combination of bad luck and players still seeking their form after the summer lay-off and the 2014 World Cup, as Louis van Gaal has no history of riding his players too hard at any of his previous clubs.
Herrera had been one of the brightest spots for United during pre-season, justifying his £28.8 million price tag (per McDonnell) with a number of excellent performances. Central midfield was the club's biggest weakness last season, and Herrera's encouraging start had fans hoping this year would be different.
The Spaniard won't be out for long, but in the short term, the absence of Herrera is a disaster. United are already low on bodies in central midfield, and now the club will have to face Sunderland without their top performer at the position.
Van Gaal can't afford to start his United career with two losses against mid-table sides, and he'll need to get creative on Sunday in order to avoid his team getting overrun in the central areas.