LONDON • Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has been dropped for today's Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur because he is not focused enough, according to manager Louis van Gaal.
The Spaniard's future at Old Trafford looks increasingly uncertain amid interest from Real Madrid.
And the Spain international, who has a year to run on his contract, "cannot manage the situation", according to van Gaal.
The manager refused to say who would play instead but there is a possibility that Englishman Sam Johnstone may be called up for his club debut.
Johnstone played more minutes on United's pre-season tour than any of the other four goalkeepers on the club's books.
Victor Valdes is out of favour after van Gaal alleged that he refused to play in an Under-21 match.
OUT OF HIS HANDS
We have problems with de Gea. I don't know what the solution is. That's in progress. But I cannot lead this process. I can only watch and observe.
LOUIS VAN GAAL United manager
Anders Lindegaard looks likely to leave on a free transfer. New signing Sergio Romero, brought in this summer after being released by Sampdoria, is an experienced alternative, having played in last year's World Cup final and at the recent Copa America for Argentina.
Van Gaal must decide whether he is ready to throw in Romero, who did not play for United at all in pre-season.
The manager said: "We have problems with de Gea. I don't know what the solution is.
"That's in progress.
"But I cannot lead this process. I can only watch and observe. I am not participating in the process.
"It is not easy for him to manage his situation now.
"He shall not play so I don't have any concerns.
"I think a human being is more than only a player, and he cannot manage that situation."
Asked if that meant Romero would start, the manager said: "You will have to wait and see."
Van Gaal has held back from sending 22-year-old Johnstone out on loan to Preston while he mulls over his options.
The manager also indicated that his squad have been left light on attacking threat following Argentina winger Angel di Maria's move to Paris Saint-Germain.
"It is a big loss. When I say I want more attackers with speed and creativity, di Maria is one of those players," the manager said.
"We have to look for that player. They have to have the talent to cope with the English rhythm and this is difficult to find."
Meanwhile, winger Ashley Young has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least June 2018.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON