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Manager Watch: Mourinho vs. Guardiola

Manager Watch
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Manchester United striker Anthony Martial could return vs. Watford

Alison Bender takes a quick look at players who shined in their debuts before struggling later and asks whether Marcus Rashford is the real deal.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has said Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling could all be fit to face Watford at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Darmian and Smalling both suffered shoulder injuries earlier this month, while Martial hurt a hamstring during the warmup before the Europa League win over FC Midtjylland on Thursday.

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Van Gaal, whose team have won three games in the last week, told MUTV: "Players are coming back. It is positive. I think Martial can play, Darmian can play and maybe Smalling -- we'll wait and see."

The return of Martial would give Van Gaal a dilemma in attack, with replacement Marcus Rashford having hit the headlines with four goals in two games.

A comeback for Smalling would mean that makeshift centre back Michael Carrick could move back into midfield if selected.

Guillermo Varela, meanwhile, has impressed at right-back in Darmian's absence.

There was also positive news about left-back Marcos Rojo, who had to be substituted after 55 minutes of Sunday's 3-2 win against Arsenal.

Van Gaal said: "It was a kick [on an ankle]. A lot of players receive kicks and they can play the next match."

The Dutchman had said before the Arsenal game that Rojo would not start, but picked him from the beginning having brought him on as a substitute against Midtjylland following a three-month absence.

He said: "Players are coming back in March, I think, but we have to build them up also.

"You have seen how I did it with Marcos Rojo -- 20 minutes and then [the plan was for] 60 minutes, though he did not reach that.

"It is a very difficult programme for us because we have to recover within two days for the second time. We have a small selection [of players to pick from], so it's difficult and I cannot rotate too much.

"But I feel that the players are doing everything to recover." 

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him @ARejSport

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