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Friday 2 December 2016

Young is latest to fall foul of full-back curse

'Van Gaal said Young (pictured) needed surgery' Photo:PA
'Van Gaal said Young (pictured) needed surgery' Photo:PA

Manchester United's full back curse has struck again with Ashley Young ruled out for a "long time" after sustaining a severe groin problem, manager Louis van Gaal said.

Young, a winger who has filled in at right and left back this season after a string of injuries, was forced off late in the first half of the Premier League victory at Liverpool on Sunday.

Van Gaal said Young needed surgery and that United could sign a full back in the January transfer window after being forced to use academy players in the position.

"I have started with Valencia, Shaw, Rojo, Darmian and Young, sometimes, and they are all injured - only Darmian is now back," Van Gaal said ahead of today's Premier League clash at home to a revived Southampton side.

"So, I need full backs and you have seen how I have used youngsters like Borthwick-Jackson and Varela who are doing great but the level of Manchester United is high."

United's woes at full back started when Luke Shaw suffered a double leg break in a Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven in September.

Utility wide man Antonio Valencia underwent foot surgery in October and has yet to return while Marcos Rojo suffered a shoulder injury and was operated on last month.

"To give a high performance every week normally is very difficult for youngsters, which is why we have to look always in this transfer period for replacements," he said.

"The difficulty is that we ask for a level and the clubs do not want to sell in this period and that is our problem. We are looking, but it is not so easy."

Meanwhile, Ronald Koeman has a hat-trick of Premier League wins and an Old Trafford double in his sights.

This afternoon they head to United, the scene of a memorable 1-0 win last season which was their first success at the Theatre of Dreams in 27 years.

"They are a team with a lot of strengths but also a team with some weaknesses, and we know because earlier this season we were very close to having a better result than losing 3-2, and we have the experience of winning after 27 years at Old Trafford," he said.

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