Manchester United have been handed a major injury boost with Ashley Young set to return to action in six weeks, allaying initial fears that he was out for the rest of the season. The Red Devils winger picked up a severe groin injury during their 1-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday (17 January) and it was feared that he will not make it back before the end of the campaign with Louis van Gaal revealing that he will need surgery.
"Ashley Young has a severe groin injury. It shall be operated on, so he's out for a long time," the Dutch manager told United's official site.
The 30-year-old winger's absence is a major cause for concern for the club, especially in defence, where he has been mainly used this season. Young has deputised at right-back and left-back during the course of the campaign to provide cover for long-term absentees Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw, who are unlikely to return before the end of the campaign. Marcos Rojo, who can play at left-back, is also sidelined after he dislocated his shoulder during training in December.
The England international's injury has left Van Gaal with no option but to turn to the club's youth team for replacements. Eighteen-year-old Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has now made five first-team appearances in the Premier League and is the only fit left-back in the squad at the moment. The former Bayern Munich manager has admitted that the club will look to bring in reinforcements as he believes that the youngster is still not at the level required to play on a regular basis for the 20-time English champions.
According to the Daily Mail, however, Young is hopeful of returning earlier than expected despite the severity of his injury. His initial time frame was between six to eight weeks, but the report claims that the winger is hoping to return to action at the end of March, which will be a welcome boost to the manager.