Manchester United vs Saint-Etienne - Rooney, Carrick and Jones absent for Man Utd's opening tie

Posted Thursday, February 16, 2017 by PA

Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones will miss Manchester United's Europa League last-32 first leg against St Etienne.

Rooney and Carrick are being kept out as a precaution due to minor muscular issues, while a foot injury ensures Jones is sidelined.

United manager Jose Mourinho confirmed left-back Luke Shaw would not play on Thursday, with Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind starting in defence.

Mourinho plans to name a strong side - and risk the wrath of Paul Pogba's mum.

Thursday's match against Les Verts pits the world's most expensive player against his older brother Florentin, leaving the Pogba family hoping for a draw.

"We spoke in a good way, a funny way," Mourinho said of Paul. "I think it is a good, nice destiny.

"I think only mum Pogba is a little bit in trouble, which is normal. It's difficult for the lady to choose - it's not difficult, it's impossible!

"I know from Paul that the mum wants a draw, but next week one son will be happy and another one will be sad.

"But I think for the mum it's a bit of a problem, but they will enjoy playing against each other.

"Paul is excited, Florentin for sure the same. I think it's a good thing."

Florentin has marked the "magical" encounter against Paul by having both of their squad numbers shaved into his hair.

A bleached number 19, the St Etienne defender's squad number, has been cut into his hair, with Paul's number, six, crafted into the other side ahead of the first leg at Old Trafford.

"The 19 is my squad number and the six is for him," Florentin said. "It's going to be a magical moment and I hope he and I enjoy it the best we can.

"No anguish at all, absolute excitement for me. No worries at all. It's all positive.

"I'm really passionate about the game and I cannot wait to play in this historic stadium and to play against my little brother, so it'll be fun.

"We've given each other some stick and there was some banter straight after the draw was made, but since then we've been so focused on our respective league games.

"We've not been in that much particular contact about this one. For sure it's a momentous occasion for us, an occasion full of joy, and for sure I'll be swapping shirts with him.

"I don't know who's going to be happy at the end, but may the best man win."

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