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United captain Rooney fit for Southampton clash

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is fit to face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday, manager Louis van Gaal has confirmed.

The striker missed his side’s 2-1 Champions League defeat away to PSV but will return to face the Saints, while Phil Jones is back in training after recovering from thrombosis.

“Wayne is fit to play,” said Van Gaal. “He has only had one week out and it was because we were not taking any risks with him. 

“Phil Jones has come back and trained with the group for the first time. He is not match fit but he is fit to train. Only Luke Shaw is injured.”

Van Gaal lamented the loss of Shaw – out with a broken leg – to his squad but did report that the left-back was sounding positive after phoning him in Eindhoven.

“I called Luke Shaw,” continued the Dutchman. “He sounds very strong and firm, which is amazing for me – a good signal.

“It was another look than the day before, so I was happy with that. But of course he knows that it is a long way to go for him. The operation was a good operation but nearly all the operations are always good. We have to wait and see how long it takes.

“My speaking about the subject gives him spirit. All the players, all of his colleagues, have called him and that is maybe not good. I texted him to say I would call him later because rest is also important for the recovery. Of course, we have a fantastic doctor and also the medical department. 

“We sent people to the Netherlands to take care of the travelling when he is coming back. We have to take care of that and also of his family because his family is there. That is also great support for him. The main thing is how the development of the rehabilitation shall go.

“It is a great loss. I have said in advance of this season already that it shall be the season of Luke Shaw. He had started fantastically and everybody had seen that. It is a great miss, a great loss.”

The 64-year-old is now faced with the challenge of replacing the England international and he admitted that was something which would not be easy to do. 

“You have to build up again a combination with the player in front of him,” Van Gaal continued to MUTV. “Memphis and Shaw were a very good combination and now you have to build up a new combination. 

“You have to start again and that is difficult. It is also difficult for the player who has to replace him.

“It is very difficult to replace him, but in Blind, Rojo and Young we have good replacements.”

Fri 18 Sep, 2015
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