A “back problem” has kept De Gea out of Manchester United’s first two pre-season games in America but when Van Gaal sent him for a scan at a California hospital this week, nothing of note showed up.
Now, with the start of the season just a little more than two weeks away, and De Gea’s proposed switch to Real Madrid no nearer to completion than it was a month ago, the United manager wants his Player of the Year to focus on getting ready for the Premier League season.
De Gea was asked to join in the warm-up before United’s game against San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday but did not do any serious work. Now Van Gaal is hoping he can play some part on Saturday against Barcelona in Santa Clara.
Van Gaal said: ‘I have good hope he can play against Barcelona. He was injured (earlier in the week) so I said ‘Go stand in the goal so we have a point of direction for my attackers, but don’t do anything to risk your injury’.
‘That is because we have to build him up. I think he can play against Barcelona and I hope he can play.’
De Gea had hoped to be a Madrid player by now but with United refusing to consider a cash deal and Madrid continuing to show no interest in a straight swap for defender Sergio Ramos, it remains highly possible the United No 1 will still be at the club for the first league match Tottenham on August 8.
Since United only have two friendlies before the Spurs match, Barcelona and then PSG in Chicago, Van Gaal is desperate to get De Gea to get some game time between now and the team returning home next Thursday.