Luke Shaw is confident he can buck a trend that has afflicted Manchester United defenders and stay fit for the rest of the season.
Shaw, 19, suffered a hamstring injury a week before the start of the new Premier League campaign that saw him miss the first three games of the season.
He returned to the substitutes' bench for recent games against Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City and is all but certain to be handed a starting role in what is likely to be a very unfamiliar United back four against West Ham United on Saturday.
Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are all unavailable as part of an ongoing injury crisis at Old Trafford with van Gaal confirming youngsters Tom Thorpe and Paddy McNair are in contention to start alongside Marcos Rojo at centre half.
Having put his own injury problems behind him, Shaw is looking forward to nailing down a starting role and having a prominent role to play in United's season.
"The injury got me down a little bit as I've never been injured for so long before," Shaw told United Review.
"I was a bit annoyed, but I have been back in training now for a couple of weeks. It was literally in the last training session ahead of the game [United's final preseason game against Valencia a week before the new season].
"I had to stop because I was in too much pain. I'm back now, raring to go and hoping to stay injury free and fit for the rest of the season."
In addition to the injured trio of Smalling, Jones and Evans, United are also without the services of Tyler Blackett for the visit of Sam Allardyce's side after he was sent off during the 5-3 defeat to Leicester City.
The possibility of the versatile Daley Blind dropping back into defence has been suggested in recent days but van Gaal has ruled out that possibility, stating: "I do not like having too many left-sided defenders or left footed players in defence. I think always of balance so [instead] I have to pick up a right-sided central defender from the youth education."