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United poach Southampton physio in attempt to solve injury crisis

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With players keeling over left, right and centre, Manchester United have started to rearrange their medical team.

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Michael Regan

Manchester United and injuries have been close friends of late, with Ander Herrera the latest casualty. With the Spanish midfielder set to miss an unspecified number of weeks with a fractured rib, and with the number of unavailable first teamers sitting at a thoroughly unpleasant nine, United have begun a wholesale overhaul of their medical team.

The club announced a few days ago that fitness coach Tony Strudwick, who had been in charge of match day preparation and the fitness plans for first team players, has been given "new responsibilities," in which he will oversee "the athletic development of all players" from the first team through to the academy. First team fitness responsibilities have been handed to long-term Van Gaal associate Jos van Dijk.

Strudwick — who told manutd.com that "I am thoroughly enjoying this new role" — has also been withdrawn from his part-time role with England, along with masseur Rod Thornley. Though they will join up with the national team for the forthcoming fixtures against San Marino and Estonia, they will spend future international breaks at Carrington focusing on their United work.

Finally, a new arrival: Joining the club will be first-team physio Matt Radcliffe, who has been lured from Southampton and will move to United after this weekend's games. The Daily Mail claim that Radcliffe is regarded as "one of the best physios in football," which sounds ideal.

After all, he'll need to be. Last season, according to the independent websites physioroom.com and injuryleague.com, United lost 194 player weeks -- one player out for one week -- to injury, the fifth most in the league. This season they've already lost 61, more than any other Premier League club. More than Arsenal, who are Arsenal. Fingers crossed that this can go some way towards addressing the problem.