Sunday 19 November 2017

Rooney future in balance as injury puts paid to Far East tour

Bayern bid for Thiago as Rooney goes home

Wayne Rooney's future has been the subject of much speculation this summer
Wayne Rooney's future has been the subject of much speculation this summer

Mark Ogden and Chris Bascombe

Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United's Far East tour and returned home with a hamstring injury that may rule him out of the start of the Premier League season.

United said Rooney  sustained the damage in training shortly after arriving in Thailand. A club statement confirmed he was expected to miss the next month. With the England striker's future still shrouded in uncertainty, the setback has come at a sensitive time for the player and new manager David Moyes.

Conspiracy theories have inevitably been aired. Rooney spent just 16 hours in Bangkok before his club decided to send him home, and the swiftness of his return has raised eyebrows.

United say Rooney underwent a scan after his training session, following which the decision was taken to send him back to Manchester.

"Following a scan on a hamstring injury sustained in training, it has been decided Wayne Rooney should return home immediately for further assessment," the club said.

This comes as Chelsea are expected to make a bid for Rooney following a prolonged period where there has been a notable lack of public statement by the 27-year-old committing himself to Old Trafford.

As he begins a process of rehabilitation in an effort to be fit for the Premier League kick-off, his present and potentially future employers will be wondering when he will be next in action.

Rooney will struggle to be fit for the start of the season if the early diagnosis is correct. United are due to face Wigan in the Community Shield on August 11 and begin the defence of their title at Swansea the following weekend.

Ironically, only last week United's players and coaches were suggesting Rooney had returned from his summer break in the best shape for years.

Major

Moyes, meanwhile, is facing the prospect of missing out on making Thiago Alcantara his first major signing as Manchester United manager, with Pep Guardiola admitting his determination to take the Barcelona midfielder to Bayern Munich.

Moyes appeared to be close to securing the Spain U-21 captain following strenuous efforts by senior figures at Old Trafford to lure him from the Nou Camp.

Having failed to secure regular football under Tito Vilanova last season, Thiago has become available for £17m this summer due to Barcelona triggering a release clause in his contract due to his lack of first-team opportunities.

But with Thiago keen to secure a similar clause in any deal with United, progress on a move to the Premier League has stalled and Guardiola, who handed the youngster his debut at Barcelona, has now confirmed that he has urged new club Bayern to capitalise on United's failure to sign the player.

"I want Thiago Alcantara," Guardiola said. "I have asked Bayern to get him, but I don't know what will happen. Thiago is the only player I want, that's what I told them. It'll be him or no one." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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