Manchester United’s turbulent season received a further battering yesterday with the news that skipper Wayne Rooney has suffered a knee ligament injury and is set to be sidelined for six weeks.
Rooney will miss tonight’s Europa League last-32 clash with Danish champions FC Midtjylland, while a six-week absence could mean he will be unavailable for up to 11 United fixtures, including showdowns with title hopefuls Arsenal and Manchester City.
“He has a knee problem so we have to wait and see,” said Reds boss Louis Van Gaal. “He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that.
“It’s difficult to say [how much of the season he will miss], but he’s injured in the game versus Sunderland and has a knee problem. We have to wait and see how long that takes. I cannot say.”
While there is no suggestion that England captain Rooney’s participation at this summer’s European Championships in France is in doubt, he could miss the Three Lions’ friendlies against Germany and Holland next month.
The 30-year-old has a past history of sustaining injuries in the build-up to major international competition, having suffered a broken metatarsal during United’s clash at Chelsea prior to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
He also faced a fitness battle four years later as an ankle problem overshadowed his tournament preparations, while he missed the first two matches of Euro 2012 having been sent off in England’s final qualifier.