Belfast Telegraph

Van Persie told to fight for place

By Martyn Ziegler

Louis van Gaal has warned striker Robin van Persie he will have to battle for his place as the Manchester United manager prepares to welcome Radamel Falcao back to his squad.

Van Gaal is hoping the injury-hit Colombian can finally display the qualities that have made him one of the most feared strikers in world football - especially important for United with Van Persie struggling for form.

Falcao's loan spell has been disrupted by injuries but Van Gaal is hopeful he will be in the squad for the visit of Hull today.

Asked if Falcao's return would increase the pressure on Van Persie, who was substituted against his former club Arsenal last weekend having had just 13 touches of the ball, Van Gaal said: "Every player in my selection has to fight for his position and I shall always take the best of the players and it must also be suitable for the mix of players. So it is also an obligation of a player that he does that."

Asked if he felt confident that Falcao can start to live up to his potential, the United boss added: "I hope so because we have him on loan because of that."

It is not just Falcao poised to provide a huge boost for United, but Argentina defender Marcos Rojo is also in contention after being out with a shoulder injury.

Van Gaal told a news conference at United's training centre: "We have to wait and see until the last training session of course. It's always difficult to say but we have good news, yes. You have to read between the lines.

"I have to train the last session and I live day by day at this moment. So maybe Falcao can come back in the 18 [matchday squad], maybe Rojo can come back in the 18. That's it I think."

Van Gaal said he was happy that United were in the top four despite their injury problems and having played some heavyweight opposition recently.

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