Coach gives injury update on crocked £40m Manchester United target

Kevin Strootman is back in training matches but not changing direction with the ball, according to Rudi Garcia.

Manchester United may have embarked on a big recruitment drive in the summer but they continue to be linked with new signings for the upcoming January transfer window.

One name that continually gets linked with the club is that of Dutch international Kevin Strootman.

Louis van Gaal is a big fan of his countryman, who would have been at the World Cup this summer were it not for a terrible knee injury. Sir Alex Ferguson was also a big fan of the player in his time at the club - and he is reportedly the club's number one transfer target for the winter.

Strootman tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game for Roma against Parma back in April and has not played since. But he is currently stepping up his recuperation, with the hope of returning to action in November at the earliest.

His boss Rudi Garcia, still reeling from his side's 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the week, has now given an update on the player's fitness.

He told his weekly press conference, as translated by Football Italia:

“We’re slowly doing everything we can do get the injured players back. We still have the players to be competitive in the League.

“Kevin is recovering well physically, he started playing in training matches this week.

“He has to regain his confidence after a major injury, he still doesn’t change direction.

“I think that when he can do that with the ball is when there will be a major injection of confidence in his recovery.”

The fact he is not yet turning direction suggests that for now he remains some way off a return to first-team action. But his presence in training would certainly suggest he will be playing football before the turn of the year.

Roma insist they are not selling the player, who is being valued at around £40 million, but if he can prove his fitness throughout January then Van Gaal is likely to make a move for his midfield favourite.

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