Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson held a press conference today ahead of tomorrow's European tie away to CFR Cluj. During it, he revealed that Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Michael Carrick would not be in travel squad to Romania:
"Carrick didn’t report today, he’s in bed with a virus. Ryan also felt rough this morning and we sent him home. We left Paul Scholes behind. Those three players are missing - two with a virus and Paul Scholes because, although he looked great this morning and played great on Saturday, at 37 years of age I can’t expect him to play three games like that [Tottenham, Cluj, Newcastle]."
- Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
There was a bit of scare after the Tottenham Hotspur game on Saturday as Jonny Evans was seen receiving treatment on the Old Trafford pitch. However, the central-defender trained today and he's expected to be available to face the Romanian champions. He, and along with Rio Ferdinand, are currently the only established first-team central-defenders available for selection because of current injuries to captain Nemnaja Vidic, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones. Youngsters Michael Keane and Scott Wootton trained today with the first-team and it's possible that one of them get a game tomorrow night if Fergie decides to rest either Rio or Jonny.
Another key player that did not travel to Romania is Antonio Valencia. The winger picked up an ankle knock versus Liverpool two weekends ago but the injury was not thought to be serious. Fergie speculated last Friday that the Ecuadorian could be ready for this match versus Cluj but that obviously isn't the case anymore. However, perhaps he might be available for the trip to Newcastle on Sunday. With Ashley Young also unavailable due to injury, that leaves Nani as the only natural winger on the squad for Cluj and he will only have two days of rest after going the full 90 minutes versus Spurs.
With Scholes and Carrick unavailable, it's very likely the duo of Anderson and Tom Cleverley get starts in central-midfield versus Cluj. If Fergie elects to go with a similar 4-4-2 diamond/4-3-2-1ish that he deployed versus Newcastle last week in a Capital One Cup clash -- and this seems possible with United's lack of natural wide players available -- then perhaps Darren Fletcher gets into the side in a holding-role while Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck could be in behind either Robin van Persie or Javier Hernandez (Chicharito).
Here is the full squad that traveled to Romania:
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Anders Lindegaard
Defenders: Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Rafael, Patrice Evra, Alexander Buttner, Scott Wootton, Michael Keane
Midfielders: Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Darren Fletcher, Shinji Kagawa, Nani, Nick Powell, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Jesse Lingard
Forwards: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck,