Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has indicated that Donald Love is set to start his first game for the Red Devils when they take on FC Midtjylland on Thursday (18 February). The young right-back made his debut for the Old Trafford club during their 2-1 loss to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday when he came on for the injured Matteo Darmian in the 37th minute.
Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson were promoted to the first-team due to injuries to the senior players, but the former suffered a knock during an U21 clash, while the latter is ill, which leaves Love as the manager's only cover at right-back. Another youngster Joe Riley, who is also part of the 18-man squad that has travelled to Denmark, is in contention for a place in the starting XI at left-back to provide cover for Borthwick-Jackson.
The 20-time English champions are facing a major injury crisis especially in the full-back positions. Their first and second choice defenders are all sidelined with injuries and that means Van Gaal will have to promote players from the youth team to provide cover in the most crucial part of the season, which will see them taking part in three competitions. Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw are on the treatment table with a return in the near future looking unlikely.
The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager has made it clear that he is not afraid to promote youngsters to first-team and believes all of them are capable of playing at the top level.
"They have played in the league, FA Cup and Europe, and that helps you develop more than playing for the reserves. We have young players sitting on the bench and my belief is they can all play," Van Gaal said ahead of their clash against FC Midtjylland, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"For example, tomorrow's right-back has only played one game for us," the Dutch manager added.