Van Gaal’s injury woes reduced as defender returns

Rafael was withdrawn at half-time in the FA Cup third round tie against Yeovil but is set to return to training on Friday after undergoing surgery on a fractured cheekbone. Louis van Gaal praised the defender’s fantastic attitude for playing through the pain barrier against Yeovil till half-time.

The Brazilian took to Instagram to inform followers of his successful operation but he will be required to wear a protective mask.

Rafael said: “Operation was perfect back training normal with mask on Friday very happy. Thanks god for everything.”

This piece of news will come as a massive boost for Van Gaal who will now have both his natural full backs fit for the game against Southampton after news emerged yesterday that Luke Shaw might be fit in time to face his former club.