Louis van Gaal, with not a little style, saved the biggest bombshell of his press conference for the very end. Asked about the importance of experience, he casually mentioned that Michael Carrick, who appears to like, has sustained an injury and may be missing for "a long time". He then thanked everybody, smiled, and strolled from the room. Cold.
Now, Carrick didn't have the greatest of seasons last term, and even when he's playing well he's not everybody's cup of tea. But Van Gaal picked him out specifically as an experienced character, which suggests that he will be missed. It also means, surely, that United's attempts to pick up a new, first-team ready midfielder will have to intensify.
Or does it? The other part of Van Gaal's answer on the issue of experience went back to the 1990s, to Ajax, and to a sixteen-year-old Clarence Seedorf. Van Gaal brought the young midfielder into the first-team squad and found that at times he was "more experienced" than the older players around him. So perhaps Ander Herrera is going to find himself standing alongside some knock-kneed kid we've never even heard of.
Hang on! Maybe Seedorf's coming out of retirement!
BREAKING: Michael Carrick has had surgery this morning on his left ankle ligaments and will be out for 10-12 weeks. #mufc— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 17, 2014