Manchester United welcome Sheriff Tiraspol to Old Trafford on Thursday in their final home game of the Europa League group stage.
The Red Devils only need a point to qualify for the knockout rounds, although a win is most likely required if Erik ten Hag’s men want to stay in touch with table-toppers Real Sociedad. The Spanish side are three points ahead of United in the group and the two teams meet next Thursday in a clash that could decide who finishes first and bypasses a tricky double header against a Champions League dropout.
Ahead of the match with Sheriff, Ten Hag confirmed he will be without Raphael Varane until the break in club football for the World Cup. “Rapha Varane isn’t in the squad. He will be out until the World Cup. He will not play in this block for Manchester United,” said the Dutchman.
Ten Hag also said he hopes Varane will be fit in time for the tournament in Qatar, but added that would be dependent on how the injury ‘develops’. Meanwhile, fellow Frenchman Anthony Martial remains sidelined due to the injury he picked up away to Everton earlier this month.
However, there was better news on the injury front in regards to three other first-team players. Ten Hag confirmed Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek could return for the Sheriff game, although the United manager added he will need to consult with his medical team before making a decision.
Should the trio return it will leave Varane and Martial as the sole injury concerns, with long-term absentees Brandon Williams, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe not playing a part in Ten Hag’s plans since he took over at Old Trafford.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also back following his absence from the weekend squad against Chelsea. “Yes, Cristiano will be in the squad tomorrow,” Ten Hag told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s not difficult and I think we said everything and answered all the questions. He was out for one game and now he is back in the squad as usual.”
As for Sheriff, Armel Zohouri is suspended for the Moldovan side following the red card he picked up in their last Europa League outing against Sociedad.
Ruled out: Varane, Martial, Zohouri
Doubts: Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek