Crocked Carrick set for shock return
MICHAEL CARRICK could be in line for a shock return to Manchester United’s first team.
Carrick is being nursed back to fitness after suffering an ankle injury on the eve of the new season.
The midfielder had been lined up to come back after the next international break after a successful operation to repair ligament damage.
But after getting back to training faster than expected, the 33-year-old could be involved against Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
And his return would be timely with Ander Herrera struggling with a fractured rib.
The Spanish midfielder suffered the injury as 10man United held on to beat West Ham 2-1 on Saturday.
A United statement read: “The club will continue to monitor his progress over the next few weeks.”
United have been plagued by injuries since Louis van Gaal took over with the Dutchman saying he has never known anything like it.
Van Gaal had more than 10 missing for the Hammers match, with Wayne Rooney now out for three games after seeing red for kicking out at Stewart Downing.
That means a new skipper is needed, with goalkeeper David De Gea backing vicecaptain Darren Fletcher (below) to step up if the long-serving Scot is needed to replace Herrera and gets the nod to start ahead of Carrick.
“Fletch is the next captain and I think he will be a great captain,” said De Gea, who believes United can recover from their shaky start.
“We need to look forward and try to win titles,” added the Spaniard, who clocked up his 100th league ap-
for United pearance weekend.
“We know we have to at least be in the top four and after this we will see if we can win the league and FA Cup.”
More good news on the injury front for United is that defender Phil Jones is back in training.
Jones has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury sustained on England duty.
And while teenager Paddy McNair enjoyed a good debut against West ham, Van Gaal will be delighted to have Jones available again this weekend to try to help keep Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in check as United bid to keep their mini-revival going.