Manchester United will have to start their 2014-15 English Premier League season without star striker Robin van Persie, who is expected to miss the Old Trafford club's opening game on August 16 against Swansea because of a lack of training. (Van Gaal Warning for Manchester United Squad)
Van Persie, who is the leading goal-scorer for Netherlands in international games, had been given an extended break after Holland successfully made it to the semifinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He did not travel with his Man United teammates during their pre-season tour of the USA.
United boss Louis Van Gaal, who also manages Netherlands at the international level, said although Van Persie will return to training on Monday, he cannot start for the team until he regains full fitness.
"When a player has been on holiday for three weeks they have to train," Van Gaal said. (Man United Beat Real 3-1)
"I'm sorry but players have to train and Robin needs a full training regime behind him before he can play again. People can criticise me for my decision but I know what to do with players who have had three weeks' holiday."
"Hopefully, Robin will get his fitness back very fast but, for now, he won't play. Robin wants to play every game, I know that, but so do the other 30 players in the squad," added Van Gaal, who is known for his sternness while managing star players.
In Van Persie's absence, youngster Ashley Young can bolster the United attack along with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. Young, who has been subject to a lot of abuse by the clubs' fans on Twitter in the recent past, has surprisingly impressed Van Gaal during training. The English winger scored twice in United's recent 3-1 win over Real Madrid during their US friendly tour.
After winning the 2012-13 English Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United struggled to live up to the standards of a top European club under manager David Moyes. They even failed to qualify for the Europa League in 2013-14. However, the inclusion of Dutch coach Van Gaal as boss has boosted the morale of the Old Trafford side.