Marcos Rojo
Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo backed by his manager. Getty

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has leapt to the defence of his defender Marcos Rojo and insists the Argentine has a bright future at Old Trafford. Rojo, who joined the club from Sporting Lisbon during van Gaal's first summer in charge in 2014, was in excellent form against Everton on Saturday 17 October but doubts over what long-term role he will have at the club emerged in the early months of the season.

The Sunday People claimed in early October the relationship between the defender and van Gaal had broken down after Rojo failed to report for the club's pre-season tour of the United States on time due to problems with his passport.

Their relationship also reportedly soured further when the Argentina international failed to alert the club's medical staff to a hamstring problem suffered in the 3-2 victory over Southampton on 20 September.

The People have speculated Russian giants Zenit St Petersburg are ready to offer the defender an escape route, but van Gaal gave no indication of a falling out when quizzed on the player in his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow.

A Russian journalist in attendance, who had not been impressed with the player's performances for former club Spartak Moscow, quizzed the United boss on why he had signed Rojo, to which van Gaal replied: "I didn't know that he played for Spartak Moscow, but I have seen him in the World Cup in Brazil when he played for Argentina," United's official website reports.

"He did it very well and he also played for Sporting Lisbon. There I analysed him. What I like is that he is physically a very strong guy, he has a good header of the ball and his pass is very fast. That is what we always need, we need a high speed in our positional game. When he improves and he can reach a very high level because he is not fully developed yet. I think there is great potential in him to become a very good player for Manchester United."