Will Keane's chances of forcing himself into first-team plans for Manchester United's weekend clash with Sunderland appear slim after being selected for the Under-21s to face Manchester City on Thursday evening (11 February).
Keane, 23, plundered five goals in Monday's Under-21 thrashing of Norwich City, taking his tally to 10 goals in six games for the second string since returning to the club after his loan spell at Preston North End was cancelled.
Van Gaal was in attendance that night as the striker tore through an inexperienced Norwich defence in a match where Memphis Depay also registered three assists. But having been named in an Under-21 starting XI for the second time in just four days, his wait for a recall into the first-team looks set to continue.
United take on Manchester City's Elite Development Squad at Leigh Sports Village on Thursday evening. Adnan Januzaj and Guillermo Varela were both left out of the squad having limped out of the 7-1 win over Norwich with minor injuries. Andreas Pereira, another to have drifted between the first-team ad Warren Joyce's side this season, has also been left out of the squad.
There is a full debut however for 17-year-old full back Regan Poole, who joined the club on the final day of the summer transfer window.
Poole signed for United from Newport County for a reported £100,000 ($145,000) fee in the summer transfer window but had been unable to make his competitive debut for the club – including games for the Under-21 side – due to a delay regarding his international clearance, as reported by the South Wales Argus.
The issue was resolved last week however, as confirmed by Poole himself, and the left-back was free to make his Under-21 debut off the bench in a match against Everton.