Louis van Gaal says Luke Shaw is set to return to training but still unlikely to play again for Manchester United this season, making him a doubt for Euro 2016.
An exceptional start to his second campaign at Old Trafford was cruelly halted by a horrific double leg break in September’s Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven.
Shaw underwent two operations following Hector Moreno’s challenge and has made impressive progress in his rehabilitation, with the 20-year-old set to train outside for the first time on Monday.
The defender will start off doing individual work before joining up with the first-team – rehabilitation Van Gaal says is “going great” albeit not quick enough to make the FA Cup final should United make the May 21 showpiece.
“Luke Shaw shall start next week the first training sessions on the pitch,” United boss Van Gaal said.
“It was always in the gym, on the treadmill, in the swimming pool and so on, but now he can train for the first time with his bodyweight on the pitch, so it is going great for Luke Shaw.
“But also…it shall be very difficult for him to play the final of the FA Cup.”
Van Gaal had hoped the full-back would return in time to feature at Wembley, but Friday’s admission means the defender is unlikely to play again this term – and almost certainly means a place at Euro 2016 is out of reach.
Roy Hodgson has repeatedly said the door remained open for Shaw, but given the England manager names his squad on May 12 and they host Turkey a day after the FA Cup final the tournament in France looks beyond him.
Rooney and Schweinsteiger injury updates
There is better news for the Three Lions when it comes to captain Wayne Rooney, who has not played since February 13 due to a knee injury.
The 30-year-old is now back in training and set to feature in one of United’s upcoming Under-21 matches, with Chelsea heading to Old Trafford on April 4 before Middlesbrough visit the following Monday.
“He’s doing great,” Van Gaal said. “He trained today at a lower level with the ball and will probably play an Under-21s match before he comes back.”
United do not have many long-term concerns aside from Rooney and Shaw, although Bastian Schweinsteiger has returned to the treatment room after the international break.
Having only just returned from a knee injury that kept the midfielder out for two months, the 31-year-old sustained knee ligament damage training ahead of Germany’s friendly against England.
“It is up and down with injuries, but I have to say that Schweinsteiger is, of course, a tragic injury because the expectation is not so good for him in relation to the European Championships, but you never know,” Van Gaal said.
“He has to work hard for it because he wants to play that and the manager of German national team wants him to play there.”
“I hope for him that he can reach it but it shall be difficult.”
The trio will be absent, so too Phil Jones, when Everton arrive on Sunday – a day when the South Stand will be named after United great Sir Bobby Charlton.
“He is on the board and is always backing me, so I am very happy with him,” Van Gaal said of the World Cup winner in the pre-match press conference.
“It is not only for that, because I met him on my first day as manager and I was guided by him into the stadium. He was also my idol when I was young.
“I had two idols in England, from watching the FA Cup finals. One of them was Jimmy Greaves and the other was Bobby Charlton, so I have known him already in my mind for a lot of years.
“Now I have met him personally. He is such a kind, friendly man and his wife is also very nice and friendly.
“I am very proud that he should get such an honour (as his own stand) because not many clubs are doing that and I am very pleased for him.”
Sir Alex Ferguson also has a stand at Old Trafford named after him and this week the former United boss urged fans to be patient with Van Gaal.
“Of course, you have to succeed a man like Ferguson, the expectations are very high,” the Dutchman added.
“He mentioned also in that interview his first four years. So I think that’s a good example that you cannot change a team in one year. It is a process. Many times I was laughed at, but it’s like that.”