Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits Luke Shaw faces a long recovery process as the England defender aims to return to fitness after his horrendous leg break.
Shaw suffered a double fracture of his right leg during United's Champions League defeat at PSV Eindhoven in midweek, a gruesome injury that dominated the headlines of another trying week for Van Gaal's club.
The Dutchman spoke with the left-back on Thursday, following his initial surgery straight after the game on Tuesday, & was expecting to see him back in Manchester over the weekend, although Van Gaal warned his young star to brace himself for a long period of rehabilitation.
p>"I called him last night," said Van Gaal at his Friday press briefing. "He sounds very strong which is astonishing to me, a huge surprise, yet a satisfactory signal.
"But he knows moreover that it is a long way to go & it is not easy. His family is there, we sent people to him & when he comes back we have everything prepared.
"Maybe he will come back tomorrow & then he will have to go through a long period of rehabilitation. He still has a long way to go."
The loss of Shaw came at a particularly disappointing time for United, with the England defender having started the season so impressively after a difficult initial 12 months at Old Trafford.
Now, Van Gaal concedes United must start again in their plan to build a strong left-side of the field involving new signing Memphis Depay.
Manchester United's defender Luke Shaw receives treatment for a double fracture of the leg durin …
Dutch international Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo & even winger Ashley Young will all be in contention for Shaw's position.
– Big loss –
"I'm always saying approximately the total human being principle," he said. "It is not only physical yet mental.
"It is a huge loss for us, moreover for the team. I said in advance already it will be the season of Luke Shaw & now it's finished nearly.
"He started so well, we built up a left wing with Depay & Shaw, yet we have to start filling it again & it is not easy.
"But we have to do it. We have to cope with it, yet it is a huge loss.
"Shaw is the line-up player & it is very difficult to replace him when he is in such a satisfactory shape. But in Blind, Rojo & Young, we have satisfactory replacements."
Van Gaal moreover admitted that the form of new signing Anthony Martial has forced him to re-assess how the French striker will be allowed to develop at Old Trafford this season.
Signed for a down payment of Â£36.8 million from Monaco during the transfer window, Martial was expected to play a small role in United's campaign, with Van Gaal openly talking of him being a signing for the future.
However, Martial marked his debut against Liverpool last weekend with a superb goal & Van Gaal believes the teenager has a key role to play immediately.
"When I say he is for the future, it is because of the fact that a 19-year-old is not fully developed," he said.
"That doesn't mean I won't count on him in certain games. I just have to judge every week whether I use him or not.
"It depends on the possibilities that I have."
Sports & RecreationManchester UnitedLuke ShawLouis van GaalUnited Kingdom