Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie plays for the United U-21sGetty

Manchester United have been handed a massive boost in their quest to keep their position in the top four after Robin van Persie completed the better part of an hour playing for the U-21 side.

The Dutchman was out for a major part of the season with an ankle injury and claimed an assist for the reserve side in their 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

His availability will come as a blessing for Louis van Gaal, who saw Radamel Falcao fire blanks and was responsible for Eden Hazard's winner in United's 1-0 loss to the Blues, which all but scuppered their hopes of getting back in the title race.

Van Persie has not been at his best this season, but is conversant with the team and the Premier League and is likely to pose a bigger threat than Falcao, who has hardly played this season.

Wayne Rooney, who was plied in the midfield against Chelsea, much to the astonishment of opposition captain John Terry, is likely to move back to the forward line alongside Van Persie against Everton after Van Gaal's tactics were widely criticised by both the opposition and the media.

Meanwhile, Jonny Evans returned to action after serving his six game ban for spitting on Papiss Cisse, but his place in the first team will depend on the current state of injuries to Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.

Jones and Rojo both missed the game against Chelsea, with paddy McNair coming in as a replacement. The youngster did well to scupper a rampant Chelsea attack, who were mostly sitting back and soaking the pressure, allowing the visiting side to make an error and capitalise.

United are currently only a point behind Arsenal, who face Chelsea next at the Emirates. A win here for the Gunners will take them four points clear of the Red Devils and one step closer towards claiming that elusive second spot, which has been eluding them for almost a decade.