Marcel Sabitzer has been named in the Austria squad in what is a huge boost for Manchester United’s midfield options.
The on-loan Bayern Munich man has missed the last two games with a knock, although Erik ten Hag has not revealed the exact nature of the injury. It’s also unclear whether he’ll be fit for the second leg of the Europa League last-16 tie against Real Betis this week, but Sabitzer’s inclusion in the Austria squad is an indication that the problem isn’t too severe.
Austria play two matches against Azerbaijan and Estonia on 24 and 27 March, and it’s therefore assumed Sabitzer will be available for United’s upcoming games. The need for midfield options has only become more apparent since Casemiro’s red card at the weekend.
The Brazilian was dismissed for a strong tackle on Carlos Alcaraz in the first half of Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Southampton, which rules him out for the next four domestic matches. United confirmed on Monday that they don’t plan to appeal Anthony Taylor’s on-field decision, meaning Casemiro is banned for Sunday’s FA Cup meeting with Fulham, and Premier League matches against Newcastle United, Brentford and Everton following the international break.
Christian Eriksen and Donny van de Beek are also long-term absentees, meaning United’s only natural options in midfield are Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes.
Ten Hag could give a fitness update on Sabitzer on Wednesday when he addresses the media ahead of Thursday’s match against Betis. United are 4-1 up from the first leg and heavy favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.