Robin van Persie ruled out of Man United game against Aston Villa

Robin van Persie will miss Manchester United's game against Aston Villa as he is still not fit to return, while Chris Smalling is a doubt with the illness that forced him to come off in England's draw with Italy.

Striker Van Persie has missed United's last five games with the ankle injury he sustained in the 2-1 defeat to Swansea and did not feature in Netherlands' internationals against Turkey and Spain.

And although he is back in training and could feature for United's under-21s against West Ham on Tuesday, he is not available to give Louis van Gaal an alternative to captain Wayne Rooney in attack.

It means Van Persie's comeback has been postponed until the following weekend's Manchester derby, as United wait to see if he will be fully fit to face their rivals and also league leaders Chelsea six days later.

"Van Persie is not available," Van Gaal said in a news conference. "We have a process for injured players, [they start off at] the medical department then you come to a football coach who tests them then he is coming to me.

"He has still not come to the football coach. [Coach] Marcel Bout is always giving the last training session before he comes into my group so he is still not in my group."

Smalling has formed a fine centre-back partnership with Phil Jones in the wins over Tottenham and Liverpool but Van Gaal faces the prospect of only having two specialist senior central defenders, plus the youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, for the Villa game.

Jonny Evans is still suspended as he serves a six-match ban for spitting at Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse so, if Smalling is ruled out, Marcos Rojo is likely to step in against Tim Sherwood's side.

"Smalling is ill so I don't know if he is available," added Van Gaal. "Yesterday [Thursday] he was at the club but in the medical department. Today I know he is not feeling well so it shall be difficult for him."

The good news for United is that Luke Shaw, who has had a hamstring injury, could be in contention for a return as he looks to displace Daley Blind at left-back.

"Luke Shaw is in my group," Van Gaal said.