Saturday 18 November 2017

Rooney fears being left out in the cold

Wayne Rooney: Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Wayne Rooney: Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

James Ducker

Wayne Rooney is sweating over his place in Manchester United's squad ahead of the club's biggest game of the season against Anderlecht in Belgium tomorrow, despite returning to training this week.

United are due to train at their Carrington base this morning before flying to Brussels ahead of the first leg of their quarter-final against the Belgian league leaders. But it remains to be seen if Rooney is named in Jose Mourinho's squad after being increasingly frozen out by the United manager ahead of the England captain's seemingly inevitable departure from Old Trafford this summer.

Rooney missed United's last two Premier League matches against Everton and Sunderland with what Mourinho cited as pain in both of his ankles but he did some training last week and is now hoping to travel to Belgium.

Facing a mounting battle to finish in the Premier League's top four, Mourinho has prioritised the Europa League as the most viable route into next season's Champions League as well as offering the chance of another trophy after the League Cup and Community Shield.

Rooney's frequent absence since the turn of the year has often been put down to a succession of niggling injuries.

Sources at Old Trafford have been shocked at the speed with which Rooney has dropped out of the picture since Christmas. He has made just one league start since December 17, in the 1-1 draw at home to Bournemouth four weeks ago, when he looked well short of match fitness. Rooney has played just 449 minutes of football in almost three months for United.

China or the United States is Rooney's most likely destination this summer, when he enters the final year of his £300,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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