United boosted by trio’s return

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian have returned to contention ahead of Manchester United’s crunch clash with Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday.

Louis Van Gaal’s men are faced with a difficut task of reversing a 2-0 deficit when they host long-time rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Europa League Round of 16.

According to the club’s medical staff, the trio are fit to return to first-team action after they managed to get through friendly matches unhurt.

Coach Van Gaal could not hide his delight at the news of the trio’s return to contention, as he now has more room to manoeuvre when it comes to his team selection.

“It’s very important to still be in the cup because a lot of players are still coming back and now you have seen Schweinsteiger play again for 15 minutes so I have more choices. But I still have to build up a number of players in the coming weeks, which is not so easy,” Van Gaal told the club’s official website following his side’s 1-1 draw with West Ham in the FA Cup sixth round.

“I like the way Schweinsteiger came in but he is still not ready for 90 minutes. Of course, [Guillermo] Varela is playing at the moment and Matteo Darmian is not playing. He is doing it very well which is the reason I play him but maybe, next time, Darmian will play.

“There’s fantastic spirit in the team in spite of the very nasty week in a lot of aspects. I’m very proud of my players and the fans are also very proud. They were enthusiastic and applauded when the players were going off the pitch.”

Red Devils fans will have to wait a bit longer for the return of Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young, who are at least three weeks away from recovering from their respective injuries.

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