Valencia out with injury setback, Solskjaer confirms

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia would have travelled to Fulham if not for another injury issue.

Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has suffered a fresh injury setback that will keep him out of the trip to Fulham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed.

Valencia, 33, is considered likely to leave Old Trafford at the end of a season in which he has featured in just five Premier League matches.

The last of those came in the 2-0 win at Newcastle United on January 2, his only appearance under interim manager Solskjaer.

The Ecuador international has retained the captaincy despite persistent fitness problems, the newest of which has prevented him from taking up a place in Saturday’s squad.

“Well hopefully he’ll recover [before the end of the season] because he’s been training hard, really hard,” Solskjaer said of Valencia.

“Then he got a setback so hopefully in a couple of weeks he’ll [be available].

“He’s captain for us, hopefully we can get him back on the pitch but it was hard when he broke down. He would’ve travelled now this weekend.”

Solskjaer will, however, have an upbeat Phil Jones at his disposal following the defender’s commitment to a new four-year contract on Friday.

The 26-year-old was due to become a free agent at the end of the season but is now tied to United until at least June 2023, with the club reserving the option for an additional 12-month extension.

“It’s a signal for the players we believe in them, for the supporters that we plan ahead,” Solskjaer said.

“Phil has been here for so long, he’s won the Premier League, trophies, he knows what it takes. He’s been here so long so he knows what it takes for us to move up the table.”

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