Rooney battling to make sensational comeback against Bayern Munich
WAYNE ROONEY will be given until Wednesday evening to convince Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that he is fit to make a remarkable comeback in the second leg of the Red Devils' Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.
The forward is rated as having an outside chance of facing the Germans at Old Trafford where United will try to turn round a 2-1 first-leg deficit.
Rooney, who has already started work on a water treadmill and exercise bike since suffering minor ankle ligament damage against Bayern last Tuesday, is determined to be involved in the second leg, despite being ruled out for two to three weeks by Ferguson last Friday.
Although Ferguson has made it clear he will not jeopardise Rooney's long-term fitness by risking him against Bayern unless he is convinced that the 34-goal forward is fit to be involved, the United manager is prepared to leave the door open until the last minute should his recovery continue to gather pace.
The injury sustained by Rooney following a challenge by Bayern's Mario Gomez is not as serious as United first feared and, although the club are publicly insisting that the Manchester derby on April 17 is his likeliest return date, it is understood that optimism is growing within Old Trafford that the England forward could be fit enough to warrant some involvement against Bayern.
Although Ferguson will be braced for the inevitable accusations that he would be placing Rooney's World Cup participation at risk should he call on the forward against Bayern, the Scot will be concerned only with the ramifications for the player and United.
With United still chasing the Premier League title, despite the defeat against Chelsea, Ferguson will not gamble on Rooney's fitness and risk losing his services for the rest of the club season if he has any doubts over the player's recovery, regardless of the 'win-or-bust' scenario facing his team against Bayern following last week's 2-1 first-leg defeat.
Rooney was still wearing a protective boot on his right leg yesterday and his prospects are rated at no more than 40pc.
But having been ruled out just three days ago, his progress over the weekend has given United a glimmer of hope that he might yet play some part in a game that could define the club's season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)