Marcos Rojo mistake may prove to be costly

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Marcos Rojo in Van Gaal's bad books
Marcos Rojo in Van Gaal's bad books

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is reported to be less than impressed by Marcos Rojo's failure to take part in the club's pre-season tour of America - and it might not just be a mistake that hits his bank balance.

Rojo and his fellow Argentine Angel Di Maria are among those who were expected to link up with United in America last Saturday, but both failed to make the trip for differing reasons.

Di Maria stayed away as he prepares to seal a transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, but Rojo's absence was entirely avoidable after he did not realise his passport had expired.

Van Gaal has yet to make a public comment on Rojo's mishap, but he is believed to be less than impressed with the centre-back's administrative error and is set to fine him two weeks wages as a result.

Yet that may only be the start of his problems, as hanging on to his place in the United team may be difficult if those likely to replace him in Van Gaal's line-up start the new season in good form.

Rojo's lack of match practice ahead of next week's Premier League kick-off against Tottenham will be a concern to Van Gaal, as the defender signed from Sporting Lisbon last summer was expected to be the king pin of the United defence after a summer when they failed to land Mats Hummels and Sergio Ramos.

However, Van Gaal may look to alternative options for United's first games of the new campaign, with Daley Blind assuming a role in central defence during the club's pre-season games.

Meanwhile, Blind has confirmed that his career could have followed a very different path, if he had accepted the first offer than came his way to join an English club.

"I was in the Ajax academy and one day I came home from school," he recalled. "My mum and dad said to me: 'Arsenal have called today. They want you.'

"I thought they were joking. It was my dream to be a player in the first team of Ajax but we went to Arsenal.

"We were there for a day -- it was great. They offered to sort out everything for my schooling, so I could get my A levels.

"They also offered me an incredible contract, especially for a boy of my age. Ajax offered me a contract too at the same time.

"The money was nowhere near what I could earn at Arsenal. My dad left it up to me and I decided to stay at Ajax."