Updated: Friday, 3rd April 2020 @ 6:26pm

Chris Smalling on verge of easing Manchester United's defensive crisis – Ashley Young set for Stoke return

Chris Smalling on verge of easing Manchester United's defensive crisis – Ashley Young set for Stoke return

By Dean Wilkins

Chris Smalling is on the verge of easing Manchester United’s defensive crisis after rejoining teammates and winger Ashley Young’s return is imminent.

The 22-year-old fullback has not played for the Reds since the back end of last season after struggling with a groin problem – he was then forced to have surgery on a broken metatarsal.

But after losing Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones through injury – and Jonny Evans suffering a dead leg – United stepped up the young England defender’s recovery process and his manager was relieved to welcome him back.

"Smalling has started training on the football side," Sir Alex revealed. "That helps us, particularly as we have a problem at centre-back.

"Ashley will start training while the internationals are on, particularly during the second week. He could, at a stretch, be back for the Stoke game.”

The England internationals are likely to feature in the Reds next home tie when Tony Pulis’ brings his team to Old Trafford on October 20.

Meanwhile, veteran threesome Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick are all ready to make the trip to St James’ Park as United hunt revenge against Newcastle – the Magpies condemned them to a 3-0 thumping last season.

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