Manchester United have been handed a boost ahead of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Granada with Marcus Rashford being deemed fit and available for the trip after recovering from injury.
Rashford, who has scored 19 goals and provided 12 assists in all competitions this season, received a knock in the 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday and missed training on Tuesday. That came on the back of him missing England’s trio of matches in the recent international break due to an ankle injury.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that the 23-year-old will make the trip to Spain but emphasised that he may not be risked from the start despite also being without Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani having just returned from a month-long injury lay-off.
“I can’t disclose my team, we’re not going to do that,” Solskjaer said. “Marcus is travelling and we have to make a decision tomorrow if he starts or is on the bench. I don’t think he’ll play 90 minutes. I don’t pick players when we know there’s a risk. He joined in training this [Wednesday] morning so let’s see how he reacts – if there’s any risk of making it worse I’m not going to overplay him.”
Solskjaer’s goalkeeping moment of truth is here
The United manager also has a decision to make when it comes to the goalkeeping position. Dean Henderson, who has started in place of David De Gea in the last seven games, is in contention to feature once again against Granada. Henderson has featured in all of United’s cup games this season and so if he doesn’t start this match it could be a further sign that he has overtaken De Gea in the hierarchy.
Solskjaer has welcomed the bond and the fierce competition between the vying goalkeepers, claiming that there is a good relationship between the pair, but also signalled that he is picking his starting goalkeeper on a game-by-game basis at the moment but that could change.
“David has had 10 fantastic years at Man United and he’s had challengers [before],” the manager said. “Of course they want to play – Dean has given it his all because everyone wants that place in the team. David does as well and it’s a healthy competition.
“Goalkeeper departments are a very tight-knit group. They work together in preparation, they have different gym sessions, individual sessions [to the rest of the squad], they stay together more. Naturally they create a bond and the spirit in the goalkeeping department has been top. But it’s a healthy competition.
“Both of them are important, all of them want to play. It’s the same for [the club’s other goalkeepers] Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop and Sergio Romero: they want to play and that’s a competition I like. David has been a top, top keeper and he still is. He’s working to be ready when he plays. If it’s Dean or David, I’m very comfortable with both of them and I’m very happy that none of them are happy to not play.”
‘Granada full of experience’
United will expect to reach another semi-final, their fifth in two seasons, by getting the better of Granada, who are currently ninth in La Liga but in poor form having lost their last three matches in all competitions. Nevertheless, Solskjaer expects a difficult trip to Andalucia prior to next week’s return leg.
“They’re full of experience and character which you expect from teams who have been promoted recently,” Solskjaer said. “Great season last year and I think they’re one of the teams who have played the most games this season.”