Crocked Car­rick set for shock re­turn

Midweek Sport - - SPORT - By PETE OLIVER

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.

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