Luke Shaw received another setback on Wednesday when Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed he will not play in Thursday’s Europa League game against Saint-Etienne.
Shaw has battled back from a double broken leg suffered last season, but has made just one appearance since November and has not featured in United’s last three match-day squads.
The Europa League has provided Shaw, a £30 million ($37.2 million, 35.3 million euros) signing from Southampton in June 2014, with three of his last seven starts.
But Mourinho has no intention of giving the 21-year-old England left-back a run-out in Thursday’s last 32 first leg, telling his pre-match press conference: “He’s not playing tomorrow.”
Pressed over his reluctance to pick Shaw, Mourinho replied: “Because my team is playing well and I am happy with my back four and I’m going to repeat: (Antonio) Valencia, (Eric) Bailly, (Chris) Smalling, Daley Blind.”
The long-term situation for Shaw does not appear positive at Old Trafford and reports have surfaced that Mourinho could be prepared to let him leave the club at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne’s visit will see United’s record signing Paul Pogba go up against his older brother, Florentin, for the first time in their professional careers.
“We spoke about it, but we spoke in a good way, a funny way,” Mourinho told reporters at United’s training ground.
“It’s a good, nice destiny. I think only Mum Pogba is a little bit in trouble, which is normal!
“It’s difficult for the lady to choose –- it’s not difficult, it’s impossible. I know from Paul that the mum wants a draw, but next week one son will be happy and another one will be sad.
“For the mum it’s a bit of a problem, but they will enjoy playing against each other. Paul will enjoy it and Florentin the same. I think it’s a good thing.”
– ‘We cannot choose’ –
United are the only club in England still active in four competitions: the Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup, in which they face a final meeting against Southampton at the end of the month.
Mourinho vowed to continue playing his strongest possible team in each competition, but believes it could leave his squad “in trouble” should they continue to advance on four fronts.
“We cannot choose competitions at Manchester United. We know that our situation is really complicated,” said the United manager, whose side trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points in the Premier League.
“We know that the Europa League is also a competition where we play on Thursdays and that makes it even more difficult for us.
“The accumulation of FA Cup and League Cup and the match postponements makes it really hard for us. If we progress in the competitions we will be in trouble in May, but we cannot choose competitions.
“We play them to win. It’s also a good way to give the team experience. International experience is always a plus.
“The Europa League is not a competition we want to play, but it’s a competition we play and we respect it. The plus is another opportunity to qualify for the Champions League.
“But we know we are in the last 32, not even the last eight or four, so there is a long way to go.
“In the Premier League the door is also open, but we still have a long way to go.”
Mourinho said Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones would all miss Thursday’s game due to minor injuries.