Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is not expecting Luke Shaw to make a return to action before the next international break.
Left-back Shaw has not played since the 2-0 loss at Tottenham on August 19, United’s second fixture of the season, due to a muscle injury – sitting out nine club games as well as four England matches.
Ten Hag’s men are set to play seven times between now and England’s next game, against Malta on November 17.
United have been blighted by injuries in defence, with right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka another who has been sidelined since sustaining an injury against Brighton on September 18.
Ten Hag said: “Of course they are closer. (But) for Luke Shaw, I don’t expect him back in this block of games. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, I don’t think he’s too far away from returning to team training and so back in the team.”
United travel to Bramall Lane to face Sheffield United on Saturday night without Casemiro, who emerged from Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela last Friday and Uruguay five days later with an injury.
“In the first game he came off but then he played the second game, it was an important one,” Ten Hag said of the midfielder, who is suspended for next Tuesday’s Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen.
“I’m sure that game didn’t help him, but it’s a small injury, he’ll return (from Brazil) next week, it will be healed and then he’s ready for our next (league) game (against Manchester City), I’m sure.”
United do have defensive pair Raphael Varane and Sergio Reguilon available again after injury lay-offs, while Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez are other defenders still sidelined alongside Shaw and Wan-Bissaka.
Ten Hag – whose side have lost six times in all competitions this term and are 10th in the Premier League – has stressed of injuries that he will “never use it as an excuse” but believes it has not helped new goalkeeper Andre Onana settle after a number of mistakes since his summer arrival from Inter Milan.
“Of course when every time you have a different defending line in front of you it is not helpful… but you have to deal with it,” Ten Hag added.
“But it didn’t help for the results and it didn’t help his integration, absolutely.”
Ten Hag has said defender Victor Lindelof is “ready” to play against Sheffield United after his distressing experience earlier in the week.
Lindelof captained the Sweden side whose Euro 2024 qualifier against Belgium in Brussels on Monday was abandoned after two Swedish fans were shot dead and another injured three miles from the stadium.
Ten Hag also indicated there has been no change in terms of Jadon Sancho, who has been training away from the first team, with the club having said that is “pending resolution of a squad discipline issue”.
England’s 3-1 win over Italy on Tuesday saw Marcus Rashford score a fine goal – having netted only once previously this season – and Harry Maguire play the full duration in defence.
Ten Hag said: “I enjoyed the (performances from the) players involved from us – you saw the qualities. The form the last games was maybe not that good, but I’m sure I will back them, I trust them, I believe in them and I’m sure they’ll be back in very good shape.”
United head into Saturday’s match amid considerable talk about their ownership situation, with Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim last weekend understood to have ended his attempt to buy the club, while INEOS founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly looking to purchase a 25 per cent stake that could see him take over football operations.
Ten Hag said he had not spoken to co-chairman Joel Glazer.
“In this moment I’m not involved so I don’t know. What I know are the agreements I made once I signed this contract,” he said.
“Until I hear anything I just keep focusing on my job, in this structure, and that is winning games and get the best out of the season.”