David Beckham is back in the Manchester United squad after recovering from a rib injury, but such is United’s recent good form that there may not be a place for the England captain in the starting eleven to face Deportivo La Coruna.
Despite the absence through injury of several key players in recent weeks, Sir Alex Ferguson’s team have looked more like their old selves in recent weeks and successive wins over Premier League rivals Arsenal and Liverpool, bear testimony to the club’s revival.
As for Beckham, he may well have to settle for a place on the bench tonight.
“We have a lot of great players and we need them all because we have a lot of important games coming up,” said United’s assistant coach Carlos Queroz.
“We know that Deportivo are not doing so well in Spain but in the Champions League they have had fantastic results and it will be a very difficult game for us,” added Queroz.
“After this game we have a break from this competition for two months so it is important we get a positive result and keep our good run going.”
United are expected to welcome back Rio Ferdinand from injury although who stands down is open to doubt. Mickael Silvestre has excelled at centre-back in his absence, but the Frenchman may be shifted back to full-back to accomodate Ferdinand. Beckham meanwhile will have to wait for his chance with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer retaining his place on the right flank.
Deportivo coach Javier Irureta, while noting United’s good run, is pleased with the form of his own team.
“It should be remembered that we have gone eleven games ourselves without defeat so we are making good progress as well.”
Deportivo have Juan Carlos Valeron available again, the Spanish midfielder having recovered from a leg fracture, but llike Beckham, he is expected to start on the bench.
In-form Roy Makaay will ead the attack with Diego Tristan. Defender Naybet is missing through long term injury, while Aldo Duschler, the man who broke Beckham’s metatarsal last season, has been left back in Spain.
Manchester United: Barthez, G. Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre, Scholes, P.Neville, Veron, Giggs, Solskjaer, Van Nistelrooy
Deportivo: Juanmi, Scaloni, Capdevila, Hector, Cesar, Fran, Valeron, Mauro Silva, Donato, Makaay, Tristan