Donny van de Beek will miss out on a return to Everton on Sunday as his Manchester United career continues to stall.
Manager Erik ten Hag has confirmed that Van de Beek is unavailable for the trip to Goodison Park despite resuming individual training following the muscle injury that has kept him out for the past five games.
It means the Dutchman has played less than 20 minutes this season off the bench in United's first three games against Brighton, Brentford and Liverpool. Van de Beek was an unused substitute at Southampton and Leicester before picking up the injury.
The 25-year-old midfielder spent the second half of last season on loan at Everton where he played seven games but missed eight more due to a thigh injury.
It has fuelled concerns that Van de Beek still struggles to cope with the physical demands of English football two-and-a-half years after his £40million move to Old Trafford from Ajax.
Ten Hag believes his compatriot needs to be free of injury before he can properly challenge for a place at United.
'He had a muscle injury, so it takes a couple of weeks,' said the United boss. 'He's now back on the grass training, so he's outside doing his work but still individual. He's not returning to team training, so we have to wait for that moment.
'He has to be fit. Obviously, that is his disadvantage. He's been here for two-and-a-half years now so he had a pre-season that was quite okay and his chances will come.
'When he came on against Brighton as a substitute he did very well, but you have to be available - and if you are not available, you cannot get a place in the first 11. So now he has to make sure he gets fit and fights for his position.' United blocked Van de Beek's transfer to Everton in the summer of 2021 before allowing him to move to Goodison Park in January.
The arrival of his old boss Ten Hag from Ajax raised hopes that United may see the best of Van de Beek - who is under contract until 2025 - but he has remained a peripheral figure at the club.