Football: Man Utd coach Van Gaal drops unsettled de Gea for Villa trip

David de Gea in the Old Trafford stands for Saturday's season opener against Tottenham. The wantaway goalkeeper is deemed unsuitable for action while his future at Manchester United remains unresolved.
David de Gea in the Old Trafford stands for Saturday's season opener against Tottenham. The wantaway goalkeeper is deemed unsuitable for action while his future at Manchester United remains unresolved.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LONDON • For a second straight English Premier League match, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has left goalkeeper David de Gea out of his squad.

The Spanish goalkeeper sat in the stands during the Red Devils' 1-0 opening win against Tottenham last weekend, and he will not play any part in tonight's clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park.

When asked during the pre-match media conference if de Gea will play, van Gaal said: "No, it is the same situation. He remains out of the squad."

Argentina international Sergio Romero will likely continue between the posts in place of de Gea.

With the 24-year-old's mooted move to Real Madrid locked in an impasse over the Spanish club's refusal to meet United's valuation for the player, or include centre-back Sergio Ramos as part of the deal, British media reports suggest that United now expect the Spain custodian to stay at the club this season.

Former United captain Bryan Robson believes de Gea may have to follow Cristiano Ronaldo's example and spend another year at Old Trafford before securing his dream move to Real. "David's a professional and he will have to get on with the job whichever way it goes," he said.

"Ronaldo had to get his head around it. United weren't prepared to release him for another year. Ronaldo went about it in a professional way, and had a great season for us."

The goalkeeper issue aside, United have traditionally enjoyed visits to Villa Park, where they have not lost in the league in 20 years.

However, with the Red Devils having had to wait until Nov 22 last season before recording their first away win, they will hope it does not take quite as long to pick up points on the road this term.

Van Gaal will expect to see signs of greater attacking cohesion than in the narrow win over Tottenham, when United prevailed courtesy of an own goal.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, the German World Cup winner who received a thunderous reception when he made his competitive United debut as a second-half substitute against Spurs, said he is ready to cement his place in the starting XI after struggling with a calf problem during pre-season.

"Now I feel much better and it was very important to play 30 minutes the last time out," he said. "I'm getting better and I will be 100 per cent fit by next week."

Villa began the campaign with a 1-0 win at promoted Bournemouth and, despite narrowly avoiding relegation last season, a flood of new signings has raised expectations for manager Tim Sherwood's side.

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ASTON VILLA v MANCHESTER UNITED
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2015, with the headline 'Van Gaal drops unsettled de Gea for Villa trip'. Print Edition | Subscribe