Rafael da Silva to return to Manchester United training in mask

Rafael da Silva has suggested he will attempt to play in a mask for Manchester United after having surgery on his fractured cheekbone.

Brazilian right-back Rafael was hurt in Sunday's 2-0 FA Cup win over League One Yeovil at Huish Park and was substituted at half-time along with fellow defender Luke Shaw.

But he said he will be back in training later this week as United wait to see whether he will be passed fit to face Southampton on Sunday.

That could give manager Louis van Gaal a boost as he finds himself short of right-sided players as United's injury problems continue.

"Operation was perfect back training normal with mask on Friday very happy," Rafael wrote on Instagram, along with a picture of him smiling in his hospital bed.

The 24-year-old has had an injury-hit season and did not play for two months after suffering a groin strain in October's 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

He has featured in United's last four games but the Yeovil match was his first start since Chelsea.

In Rafael's absence, Antonio Valencia established himself as the regular right-back or right wing-back but the Ecuadorian suffered a groin problem in the 0-0 draw against Tottenham.

Ashley Young started at right wing-back against Stoke on New Year's Day but he came off after injuring his hamstring and young centre-back Paddy McNair finished the Yeovil game at right-back after Rafael went off.