Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has provided a positive injury update ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Everton on Saturday (23 April) after revealing that he has an almost fully-fit squad to select from, with only long-term absentees Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj expected to miss the game. The boss claims that up to six players will need to be overlooked for the trip to Wembley as he has no place for everyone in his 18-man squad.
The Red Devils will face the FA Cup challenge only three days after their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Van Gaal deployed a strong team against Alan Pardew's side to boost the club hopes to secure Champions League football next season, with the victory leaving them one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal.
Chris Smalling sparked doubts over his participation in the visit to Wembley after he suffered a late collision later in the game. Yet the defender played down the concerns after the game and now Gaal has confirmed that he and all of his teammates avoided any injuries ahead of the game with Everton. The boss therefore says that he only have two sure absentees for Wembley in Shaw and Schweinsteiger, with Januzaj also likely to miss the game.
"The squad is nearly fit. Only Shaw and Schweinsteiger are unable to play and maybe Januzaj because he didn't play yet in the second team. But we have a full squad of fit players," van Gaal confirmed to MUTV while admitting he faces a selection headache to pick his squad.
"Every player wants to play in a semi-final. I have to select 18 players and I have now 24 players fit so I have to disappoint six players, and that is not fine for a manager."
Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, played against Palace in the middle of the park to leave Marcus Rashford up front. The captain was doing just his second starting appearance for United since he returned to action from a long-term injury in the last minutes of the FA Cup replay with West Ham.
Asked about the form of the captain, Van Gaal said: "Of course but that counts for every player I think. Not only Wayne. The media and now you are talking about Wayne but we have a squad of 27 players and I am happy with everybody."