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EUROPA LEAGUE

De Gea and Daniel James to miss Europa League opener against Astana

Manchester United will be without Daniel James for their opening Europa League group game, while goalkeeper David de Gea will be rested.

James out of Manchester United's Europa League opener against Astana

In-form winger Daniel James will miss Manchester United's first Europa League match against Astana through injury. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Wales international James suffered a "knock" against Leicester City at the weekend and would sit out Thursday's game at Old Trafford. The 21-year-old skipped United's final training session before the Group L fixture and joins Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw on the sidelines. Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot are ready to return from illness and a hip problem respectively.

"He got a knock against Leicester so he won't be available," Solskjaer said of James. "We're getting some back and losing some, so that's just the way it is."

Delighted

James, who almost joined Leeds United in January, has shone since moving to Manchester from Swansea City, scoring three Premier League goals. "Delighted with Dan," said Solskjaer. "That we signed him, that we managed to get him to Manchester is fantastic. He's proven with his X-factor already that he will give this squad a lot. I know he was very close [to Leeds], but that's football. Sometimes you have to take a chance and sometime life works in different ways, in strange ways. He's started really well here."

Sweeping changes

James will be one of several regulars missing from the starting XI as Solskjaer rotates his squad against the Kazakhstan Premier League champions. David de Gea, fresh from signing a new four-year contract, will be rested, with Sergio Romero to replace him in goal. Axel Tuanzebe, Mason Greenwood and Fred are also set to be given opportunities from the outset.

"It's not set in stone that this tournament is just going to be youngsters," the United manager added. "They might play in the league. The experienced ones might play in the Europa League. Those are decisions we have to make at the time."