Sunday 21 January 2018

David Moyes: 'I'd be mad not to play Wayne'

Moyes insists no risk in rushing Rooney back despite toe fears

Manchester United Manager David Moyes
Manchester United Manager David Moyes

Mark Ogden

David Moyes insists that he is not risking Wayne Rooney's fitness by naming him in the Manchester United side to face Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tonight after being given the all-clear by club doctors.

Despite Rooney missing United's 4-0 Premier League win at Newcastle United at the weekend to protect the chipped toe bone sustained in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against the reigning champions last Tuesday, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola poured scorn on Moyes' suggestion at the weekend that Rooney was "touch and go" to play this evening by claiming that he would buy a "big, big beer" for journalists if the 28-year-old missed the tie.

With England's World Cup opener against Italy in Manaus just two months away, Moyes' claim that Rooney faced a battle to face Bayern had raised the prospect of him enduring an injury scare before a major tournament for the third successive time.

After Rooney returned to training at Carrington yesterday morning prior to the flight to Germany, however, Moyes said that he had no concerns over the state of his player's fitness.

"We think it (the toe) is okay because we wouldn't do anything wrong," he said.

"We take advice from our doctors and the doctors know.

"Everybody knows the character Wayne is and the kind of player he is. He is determined to play and, if he is determined, we would be mad not to (play him)."

The issue for Rooney appears to be match fitness rather than the stat of his toe, as he did not train fully until yesterday.

"Wayne is able to train and is massively keen to be involved," Moyes said.

"But he has not trained all week, so we need to be wary of that. He is happy to take an injection, which shows you his feeling for the game and the club."

If Moyes was attempting to mislead Guardiola over his team, however, the Spaniard insisted that Rooney would play, with Antonio Valencia providing crosses from the right.

"He (Rooney) is going to play," Guardiola said. "100pc, he is going to play. I bet you a big, big glass of beer. And Valencia too. Rooney is a big player, one of the best players I've seen in my career. I'm sure he's going to play."

Rooney has mixed memories of the Allianz Arena, having scored in United's 2-1 quarter-final first-leg defeat against Bayern in March 2010 before sustaining damaged ankle tendons late in the game.

But the United striker is upbeat ahead of the game, saying: "We believe we can go through, we believe we have good enough players.

MASSIVE

"It will be tough because Bayern and Barcelona are the two best teams in the competition. So we have to be at our best. We are ready. It's a massive game."

Guardiola criticised United's defensive approach in the first leg, which ended 1-1 after Bastian Schweinsteiger cancelled out Nemanja Vidic's opening goal for United.

And though Moyes admitted the challenge he faced was the biggest of his career, the United manager insisted that he would not alter his approach tonight.

"It's the hardest task because of the level of opposition and the competition and the stage," Moyes said.

"Of course it's the hardest game. I would like to have more possession than in the first leg and have a bigger effect on the game when we've got it.

"The approach doesn't alter a lot because if Bayern score, we have to score too. We have to go out and win. We have to be better on the ball than in the first leg. But we need the determination to get the result." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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