MANCHESTER UTD vs CSKA MOSCOW
SIR ALEX FERGUSON looks set to make a late decision on whether to include Wayne Rooney in his Champions League plans tonight after the England striker became a dad for the first time yesterday.
Rooney missed training yesterday morning to be with his wife Coleen, who gave birth to son, Kai Wayne, at 2.20pm.
Ferguson was thought to be leaning towards giving the 24-year-old the night off for tonight’s game with CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford.
But with fellow striker Dimitar Berbatov taking a knock to the knee against Blackburn on Saturday, the boss is taking no chances and will make an 11th hour call after speaking to Rooney this morning.
“It depends on the situation with his wife,” Ferguson said just prior to the new arrival yesterday. “We will just have to wait and see on that one.”
As it is, Ferguson must do without first-choice centre backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic (both knee), while Ryan Giggs (hip) and Park Ji-sung (knee) are also ruled out.
Despite being without Ferdinand, Ferguson still used yesterday’s press conference to launch a strong defence of his player amid suggestions from former England boss Graham Taylor that the defender’s “legs had gone”.
Ferguson raged: “In my time here, we have always had one of our star players finding he gets criticised when he has a little blip.
“It seems to be part and parcel of being a player at Manchester United. We are all aware of that. No player likes to be criticised. We all like to be loved and want arms around our shoulders at times. But he will come out of it – there is no question about that.
“There is no discernible depreciation in his qualities – none at all.”
The good news for Ferguson is that skipper Gary Neville and Darren Fletcher return for tonight’s game.