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Romelu Lukaku fit to face Derby County; Sergio Romero to replace David De Gea in goal

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has given us all some team news ahead of the Emirates FA Cup clash with Championship side Derby County at Old Trafford on Friday evening. This will be the second match for United this week, one which will see them given a ten-day break before they face Stoke City in the Premier League on Monday 15th January 2018. The Portuguese manager, fresh from embarrassing the media confirmed that Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit to face the Rams at the Theatre of Dreams.

Lukaku is the club’s top scorer this season and missed the 2-0 victory over former club Everton on New Year’s Day after a clash of heads against Southampton on the 30th December which resulted in the striker being stretchered off with many worrying when he would be fit with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the sidelines for the next month. Speaking to MUTV ahead of his pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon, the manager confirmed:

“Romelu is back, Romelu is back. As I said it was not a concussion, it was a precaution, a protection for him. He wanted to play against Everton, but this time he is back.”

During the press conference, Mourinho confirmed that he would give David De Gea a rest for the FA Cup clash with Sergio Romero set to come back in, playing his first match since United were knocked out of the Carabao Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Bristol City on the 20th December. Mourinho said:

“I’m going to play Romero because Romero is a top, top goalkeeper and he deserves to play. David [De Gea] deserves a rest. 

“And Romero’s going to be the Argentina goalkeeper in the World Cup in a few months, so for all what Romero means to us, Romero plays and I am going to play what I consider to be a very strong team.”

The Portuguese manager also had some good news about some of the players currently on the sidelines through illness and injury. Marouane Fellaini, who has been missing for some time now will be in contention to face Derby and Michael Carrick, who has been absent due to a heart problem is now back in training. Antonio Valencia, who has missed some of the festive fixtures through injury will be back in action next week but will miss the FA Cup clash. Mourinho said:

“From the injured players, Fellaini is back. And Michael Carrick is back to training, not to competition, but is back to training with the team. Antonio Valencia will be back to the team next week, so he is not playing tomorrow but will be back to the team next week. The situation is improving for us.”

It is great to see some players return from injury. United’s midfield has been thwarted recently due to injury and suspension and the depth the club has at their perusal was unable to be utilised. Having Fellaini back in the team will annoy some but make others happy. Ander Herrera has not really helped his case recently so the Belgian back in the side will give Mourinho another option going forward, also something to contend with as he may opt for a 4-3-3 formation, which is something that could see Paul Pogba play in a position he may be more comfortable in.

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