Wayne Rooney is set to return for Manchester United this week, albeit for the club’s under-21 side.
Manager Louis van Gaal confirmed the all-time England leading goalscorer will play 60 minutes with the under-21 team on Monday against Middlesbrough.
Whether or not the return gives him enough time to be in contention for United’s FA Cup quarter-final replay at West Ham on Wednesday remains to be seen.
Van Gaal has had to rely on teenager Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial for goals in Rooney’s absence, and while they have both stepped up to the plate and helped secure wins against Manchester City and Everton, he said he is looking forward to the captain’s return.
“He shall play on Monday 60 minutes to see how he is doing,” Van Gaal said.
“He is more than two months out of the game. Of course he is a great striker, but he has to show already if he is in a certain shape. It is always like that.”
The Dutchman resorted to playing Ashley Young up front during the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on Sunday, keeping Martial out wide on the left – despite the Frenchman being a more traditional striker and Young a winger.
“I wanted more running in behind,” Van Gaal explained.
“I think we had chances to do that, because Spurs are like that with full-backs who come up, so you need running in deep, and Ashley has done that very well for the under-21s and it was not Marcus’ best game.
“Martial is a player who wants the ball to his feet.”
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