Manchester United have received a timely boost on the fitness of one of their key first-team players ahead of Monday night’s Premier League game versus managerless Stoke City. The Red Devils returned to winning ways in the top-flight with a 2-0 triumph at Everton earlier this month, and the focus will now be on maintaining the momentum to stay within the top-four positions.
Valencia picked up a hamstring injury during the 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion in mid-December, and his absence coincided with United’s poor run of form which saw them ousted from the League Cup whilst drawing three consecutive league matches prior to the Toffees victory.
United boss Jose Mourinho hinting previously Valencia would make his comeback this month, and the Ecuadorian appears on track to feature versus Stoke City after participating for a full week at the warm-weather training camp at the Nad Al Sheba complex in Dubai.
Mourinho has yet to give a mention on the player’s fitness, but former United player Sammy McIlroy is confident that Valencia will return to the starting lineup versus Stoke, he told MUTV: “I think Antonio will be back against Stoke. The manager said he is back in training and Valencia is a fit boy, so it won’t take him long. In the last few years, he has made that right-back position his own. He is so strong, he is built like a boxer, and he has enjoyed the best form of his career in the last few seasons for me.”
Meanwhile, Ashley Young will be serving the final game of his three-match suspension for an elbow on Southampton’s Dusan Tadic, and Luke Shaw is likely to partner Valencia on the other side of the central defence.