Luke Shaw was not in Manchester United’s matchday squad to face Leicester City and fortunately he was not missed.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club website that Shaw will spend August on the sidelines with his ankle injury, and will not be rushed back for the Europa League.
This is the right decision, with United no longer depending on the trophy for Champions League qualification.
Solskjaer sounded disappointed, saying: “
Luke, unfortunately, will be out until next season. That is a blow for him and a blow for us.
He has been fantastic.“
So how will United cope?
United have used two players to replace Luke Shaw since his injury against Southampton earlier in July.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah started one game, and Brandon Williams started three, once he recovered from an eye injury.
Now heading into the Europa League, this selection pool of two players will expand to become four.
Diogo Dalot is desperate for gametime, having been overlooked and fallen behind Fosu-Mensah in Solskjaer’s plans.
United could give him a chance to show what he can do at left-back, if he is not selected on the right.
Then there is teenager Ethan Laird, who joined United’s first team squad at the start of July.
Laird like Dalot prefers to play on the right but is very capable of filling in on the left, having done so previously for the under-23s.
Particularly in the first game against LASK, Laird has a chance to play, and will not be fussy whether to be selected on the left or right.
Don’t forget a trophy is up for grabs
While the LASK game is essentially a developmental match for fringe players, United will want to take the Europa League seriously and win a trophy.
Brandon Williams is only 19 himself, and this is a great experience for him to play in a quarter-final and beyond.
This is good preparation for next season’s Champions League, and a really useful chance for Williams to test himself, and even Fosu-Mensah if he is kept on next season as a utility player.
Williams has become the first choice left-back in Shaw’s absence, so whoever fills in for him against LASK has an opportunity to try and dislodge him from that status.
Laird, Fosu-Mensah and Dalot all have a shout, and if they really impress against the Austrians, they might convince Solskjaer to pick them at left-back instead.
Williams started at right-back in the first leg against LASK don’t forget, and a switch for him is also very possible if United rest Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
- Predicted Manchester United XI v Arsenal
- Manchester United may have deadliest striker depth since 2009
- Anthony Martial did enough to state his case as Marcus Rashford’s best partner
- Teden Mengi looking forward to captaining United’s under-18s in Youth Cup
- Solskjaer offers update on Sergio Romero and Phil Jones
- Alejandro Garnacho scores first goals for United’s academy
- Diogo Dalot stars for Milan and United loan looks like a masterstroke already
- Four Manchester United selection dilemmas v Arsenal
- How to watch Manchester United in FA Youth Cup semi-final and final
- Solskjaer may have struck gold with new formation change