Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney injured ahead of Canaries clash
Robin van Persie became the second Manchester United striker to pull out of midweek international duty in the space of two days – with the Premier League leaders visiting Carrow Road on Saturday.
A thigh strain has seen Van Persie withdraw from the Netherlands’ group that faces Germany in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday.
He joins Wayne Rooney on the sidelines, who pulled out of Roy Hodgson’s England squad for their trip to Sweden on the same night.
Van Persie played the full 90 minutes as United hit back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa on Saturday evening, but will not now be available for Holland action.
Rooney’s withdrawal on Sunday night was more expected, given the striker limped off after 79 minutes at Villa Park with an ankle knock following a block tackle from Matthew Lowton.
There is a chance England’s star man will not make United’s visit to Carrow Road – although that may not unduly concern Alex Ferguson, who suggested the match-winning efforts of substitute Javier Hernandez over Villa will earn him a start against the Canaries.
But it would be more of a surprise if Van Persie – who has started the Red Devils’ last seven Premier League fixtures and scored eight goals in the process – was absent from Ferguson’s starting XI for Saturday’s tea-time clash at Carrow Road.
Danny Welbeck is the only other recognised striker at Old Trafford with significant top-flight experience. He will be away with Hodgson’s men for tomorrow’s friendly in Stockholm.
Midfield duo Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young are also away with England this week, while Patrice Evra will travel to Italy with France and Darren Fletcher will feature in Scotland’s friendly trip to Luxembourg.
It means seven of United’s 18-man squad from Saturday will either be away on international duty or injured ahead of their game against Norwich.
City’s tally is four, including John Ruddy with England, Alex Tettey expected to join up with Norway in Hungary, Steven Whittaker on Scotland duty and Wes Hoolahan finally being given his chance with the Republic of Ireland as they host Greece.
United’s game at Carrow Road kicks off a run of four games in just 11 days, including a Champions League trip to Galatasary – although United have already booked their qualification as group winners.