Victor Lindelof has become the latest Manchester United player to be sidelined by a case of COVID-19, forcing him out of Monday’s game at Newcastle United.
The Swedish centre-back did not make the trip to St James’ Park after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Interim manager Ralf Rangnick revealed the news shortly before kick-off when he named Raphael Varane to take over from Lindelof alongside captain Harry Maguire.
The situation affecting Lindelof is the latest COVID-19 blow to hit United, whose games against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion had to be postponed due to an outbreak in Rangnick’s squad.
After closing their Carrington training base briefly, it has reopened and United were able to prepare for the trip to Newcastle in near-normal conditions.
Rangnick told Sky Sports: “We resumed for training last Tuesday and, on Thursday, we had almost the whole team apart from Paul Pogba.
“Unfortunately, Victor Lindelof tested positive yesterday so he cannot play, but the good thing is we have Raphael Varane available again and that’s why he’s in the starting line-up.
“I would say since last Tuesday, and even more so since last Thursday, we had two or three training sessions on a very high, good level before we had to close down Carrington, as you know, for four days because, before that, we had only eight outfield players. In the last three or four days, we had some good training sessions.”
Lindelof experienced breathing difficulties in United’s 1-0 win at Norwich City on December 11 and was substituted in the second half as a consequence.
Former Real Madrid defender Varane came in for his first appearance since starting the Champions League game against Atalanta on November 2, a game in which he sustained a hamstring injury.