Rangnick issues fitness update ahead of Villa clash

Ralf Rangnick has issued an injury update ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup tie against Aston Villa.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Rangnick confirmed that Victor Lindelof is fit enough to return to contention for the clash with Steven Gerrard’s men.

Lindelof has not played since being replaced in the second half of United’s 1-0 victory over Norwich in December.

That was a problem with his breathing which has not turned out to be serious, but then he tested positive for Covid.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

“Victor is back in training, since yesterday, which is very good news for us,” said Rangnick.

“Harry hasn’t been able to train, as yet, and we have to wait and see how this develops, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

“With Harry, there is still a question mark but Victor will definitely be available for the game on Monday.”

“We will definitely not play with eight or nine different players. Or even 10, as we did against Young Boys in the Champions League.

“We will try to play with the best possible team, with a strong team. There might be a few changes but I haven’t taken the final decisions yet myself. We will definitely try to play this game as if it was a normal Premier League or Champions League game.”

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Lindelof’s availability means that Rangnick has a decision to make over whether to keep Phil Jones in his backline for the game.

This match always looked like one which might be good for Jones to play in and his performance against Wolves did those prospects no harm.

With a week between matches, there should be no risk of overworking Jones but his recovery does need to be managed carefully after so long out.

United finished Monday’s game with a three-man backline, and Lindelof’s availability does give Rangnick the option to go that way from the start against Villa.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.