Michael Carrick
Carrick has taken over the central defence in the absence of Chris Smalling Getty

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has allayed fears regarding an injury to Michael Carrick after he was omitted from the squad that defeated Watford on 2 March. The Red Devils are facing a major injury crisis at the club with over 10 players currently in the treatment room.

Despite injuries, the 20-time English champions are in good form and are back in the hunt for a place in the top four of the Premier League, following back-to-back wins over Arsenal and the Hornets in the space of three days. They are currently level on points with Manchester City in fourth place, and only four points behind the Gunners in third. The Citizens, however, do have a game in hand over the rest of the top five teams.

United's injury crisis has seen their defensive department deplete in recent weeks with Chris Smalling joining Phi Jones, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw on the sidelines, leaving Daley Blind as the only recognised centre-back in the senior squad. Carrick, who is primarily a midfielder, has been deployed in a central defensive role in recent games, but he was dropped for the visit of Quique Sanchez Flores' team on Wednesday, which prompted fears of another injury blow. The Dutchman has allyed any fears of an injury setback by revealing that the midfielder was rested owing to the proximity of games in recent weeks.

"He is rested because he played two matches in a row. He's not the youngest so we take no risks," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

Will Keane, meanwhile, looked upbeat after he began rehabilitation after suffering a groin injury during United's 3-0 win over Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup. Van Gaal has confirmed that the striker, who was in line for a role with the first-team following Wayne Rooney's injury, will undergo surgery.

"Day 1 of Rehab complete, finishing off with some much needed icing!" Keane wrote on his official Instagram page.

Day 1 of Rehab complete 👍🏻💪🏻 finishing off with some much needed icing!

A photo posted by Will Keane (@wkeane48) on