Shaw struggling for Euros, says Van Gaal



Manchester United defender Luke Shaw is losing his race to be fit for this year’s European Championships, according to manager Louis van Gaal.

The United manager said Friday that Shaw was unlikely to recover from a broken leg in time for the FA Cup final on May 21, if his side — who have a last-eight replay against West Ham — get there.

That is one day before England play a key warm-up friendly against Turkey at the Etihad Stadium; but crucially, it is nine days after Roy Hodgson plans to name his final 23-man squad for the tournament finals in France that start in June.

Even though Shaw is set to return to the training pitch next week as he steps up his fitness drive, he looks likely to miss out on the finals.

The left-back has been out of action since breaking his leg during United’s Champions League defeat by PSV Eindhoven in September.

“Luke Shaw shall start his first training sessions on the pitch next week,” van Gaal said Friday.

“He has always been in the gym, on the treadmill and in the swimming pool, but now he can train for the first time with his body weight on the pitch.

“It’s going great for Luke Shaw. But it shall be difficult for Luke Shaw to play in the final of the FA Cup,” the Dutch manger added.

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is also in danger of missing the Euro 2016 finals after tearing knee ligaments while training with world champions Germany during the recent international break.

“Schweinsteiger is a tragic injury because the expectation is not so good for him in relation to the European Championship,” said Van Gaal. “But you never know.

“He has to work hard for it. He wants to play and the manager of the German team wants him to play. I hope he shall do it but it shall be difficult.”

– Ferguson backing –

United captain Wayne Rooney was able to do light ball work in training on Friday, the England striker having been out since mid-February with knee ligament damage.

Rooney is set to step up his recovery by playing for the Under-21 side, either against Chelsea on Monday or Middlesbrough seven days later.

“Wayne Rooney is doing great but you cannot say he can play next week,” van Gaal explained. “It’s also a process. He has trained a lot of skills on the pitch with the ball today for the first time.

“It was on a lower level, but he did it. That’s very good and important.”

The United manager, meanwhile, said he was glad of the backing of Old Trafford predecessor Alex Ferguson, who called for patience this week as the club’s wait for major silverware goes on.

All that United have won since Ferguson retired in 2013 is one Community Shield under David Moyes, with van Gaal trophyless after nearly two full seasons in charge.

But Ferguson had to wait nearly four years for his first piece of silverware –- the FA Cup –- after being appointed in November 1986, and he went on to win 38 trophies in total during his time at Old Trafford.

“I think he is right to talk about patience,” van Gaal said of Ferguson.

“I cannot deny that. He mentioned also a few arguments and these arguments I have used also,” he added, with United now just a point off the top four ahead of Sunday’s league match at home to Everton.

“We are speaking with one mouth here and it’s fantastic that you can feel, as a manager of Manchester United, that you always have that support.”

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