Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney may return to the substitute’s bench for the Reds’ Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht if he gets through a training session on Wednesday afternoon.
That is according to United boss José Mourinho, who says that the striker is improving after missing the last four games with an ankle problem. At the pre-match press conference, the Portuguese said:
He’s working now, he’s improving and if in this training session [this afternoon] the answer is positive, I would select him to be on the bench tomorrow.
He’s experienced, his know-how of this knockout phase – I think he’s a player that can be useful tomorrow. If we need a goal, he can help us. If we need to keep a result, to keep the ball, to keep control of the game by having possession, he can help us too. So, hopefully his answer in the training session is positive.
Mourinho also confirmed that Sergio Romero would start ahead of David de Gea in goal for tomorrow’s night clash at Old Trafford, but did not say whether that meant that the Argentine would be first-choice for the rest of United’s European campaign:
No, he’s not my goalkeeper for the Europa League. He’s my goalkeeper for tomorrow.
He was my goalkeeper in the other matches, but he’s not my goalkeeper for the Europa League. I never like to do that complete separation. I can say the priority for Sergio is to play in the Europa League, yes, but we had some matches where David played.
David’s priority is to play in the Premier League but I don’t like the complete separation. I cannot say every match is for one or the other. The reality is that Sergio is very stable, he’s very experienced, he’s playing very well. He played in the Premier League [against Sunderland], he played well. He played in the FA Cup, he played well. He played in the League Cup, he played well.
Otherwise, there are no other injury problems for the Reds, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata all long-term absentees.
United will be looking to seal progress to the Europa League semi-finals in comprehensive fashion, with Leander Dendoncker’s late equaliser giving Anderlecht hope heading into the second leg after the Reds had dominated most of the encounter at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium a week ago.