Manchester United have received a double injury boost ahead of their FA Cup semi-final clash against Everton on Saturday (23 April) after Louis van Gaal confirmed that Marcus Rashford was not withdrawn due to injury but with a view to keep him fresh for the Wembley clash against the Toffees. Chris Smalling, meanwhile, has also brushed off injury concerns after limping through the final moments of their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace after making a sliding tackle to ensure the Red Devils' 17th Premier League clean sheet of the season.
Rashford has been ever-present in the United starting XI after making a breakthrough earlier in the year and the manager has indicated that he will start in the semi-finals after withdrawing him just after the hour mark. The 18-year-old striker has scored seven goals in 13 appearances thus far to make the No 9 role his own.
"I think Marcus is not injured. I changed him because I want a fresh Marcus Rashford for the semi-final and the game in my opinion was already done," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
Smalling, on the other hand, completed the entire game but was limping in the final minutes after the English defender flew into a sliding tackle and came off worse. But the former Fulham defender has confirmed that he is not injured and is ready to take his place alongside Daley Blind when they travel to London for the FA Cup semi-finals.
The 26-year-old defender has made 49 appearances in all competitions this campaign, forming a brilliant partnership with Blind and believes their communication skills is what helps them keep their concentration during games.
"Yeah I'll be fine. It was just a 50/50 and he caught me after, but it's nothing serious," Smalling told MUTV after their 2-0 win over Palace at Old Trafford.
"The defensive record is something we're proud of as a team, and especially as a back four, because that's our job, it's nice to get another clean sheet. We keep each other in line and keep talking, because we don't want our concentration to slip," he added.
The Dutch manager played a full strength team against the Eagles despite their FA Cup semi-finals clash and was repaid with a clinical performance that saw United dominate Alan Pardew's team and increase pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City in the race for a place in the top four. Damian Delaney scored an own goal to hand them an early lead and Matteo Darmian wrapped up the points with a wonder strike from the top of the box 10 minutes into the second-half.