Belfast Telegraph

Louis Van Gaal calls upon Michael Carrick for clash with Arsenal

By Phil Medlicott

Louis van Gaal is glad to be able to call upon Michael Carrick for Manchester United's clash with Arsenal on Sunday as the manager's concerns about fatigue continue.

Carrick sat out Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League home victory over Wolfsburg due to what was described as a minor injury, but the 34-year-old was subsequently named in Roy Hodgson's England squad yesterday.

Van Gaal said: "Carrick can play so I have a choice. I am happy to say there are no injuries (from the Wolfsburg game)."

United are currently Premier League leaders and head into the Gunners fixture at the Emirates on a four-match winning streak in all competitions.

But the Wolfsburg victory was somewhat unconvincing and the performance drew some criticism from Van Gaal, who stressed the need for improvement.

The Dutchman also suggested his players are being affected by fatigue, claiming the number of games United have played of late - that was their sixth in 18 days - is taking its toll.

Arsenal played their Champions League game a day earlier than United, and Van Gaal said: "The solution is recovery - recovery, recovery, recovery. And that is why it is so difficult to prepare for the match against Arsenal.

"You want to prepare on the pitch, but you cannot do it because the players need freshness. So then the other solution is to change your squad.

"So we have to see how the evaluation is of my fatigue specialist.

"I cannot tell that now, then the players have a day off because they have already had two weeks with no day off. So we wait and see on Saturday. Then I can make decisions."

Carrick's fellow central midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, 31, came off in the second half of the Wolfsburg game while Morgan Schneiderlin played the full 90 minutes.

It remains to be seen whether Ander Herrera, who also sat the match out, is involved on Sunday.

The winning goal against Wolfsburg came from an unlikely source in defender Chris Smalling, another player who made Hodgson's latest England squad.

Belfast Telegraph


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