No quick return for Rooney
Rooney remained in hospital overnight as medical staff assessed
the extent of the injury he sustained when Hugo Rodallega landed on
him in stoppage time.
Immediately after the game, Sir Alex Ferguson said it was “a
very bad one” which would rule his forward out for four weeks.
This has been emphasised by the reaction of surgeons who were
“surprised” at the depth of the cut.
Rooney returned home on Sunday morning after a comfortable
However, his chances of figuring in next Sunday’s Premier League
encounter with Southampton appear non-existent and it seems
inevitable he will also miss England’s opening World Cup qualifiers
against Moldova and Ukraine next month.
Roy Hodgson is due to name his squad on Thursday, at which point
it will be surely too early for any risk to be taken with Rooney’s
The one reason for optimism is that when Nani needed stitches in
a nasty wound, admittedly below the knee, inflicted by Jamie
Carragher at Liverpool in March 2011, Ferguson immediately put the
recovery timescale at three weeks, yet the Portugal winger was back
in action nine days later.
With the start of another Champions League campaign and a trip
to Liverpool looming straight after the international break, any
reduction in that four-week timescale would be a bonus for
Rodallega has been cleared of any blame for the incident, which
happened as Rooney attempted to close down a free-kick that had
just rebounded back to the Colombian.
The sheer force of Rodallega landing on Rooney caused the damage
and it appeared the Fulham man was wearing studs, rather than the
blades some have argued cause greater injury.
Rooney’s condition helped deflect attention away from the fact
he did not feature in the United starting line-up yesterday,
although Ferguson was at pains to stress there are “no problems”
with the forward.
Instead of being paired with new signing Robin van Persie,
Rooney was left on the bench as Ferguson kept faith with Shinji
Kagawa following that dire defeat at Everton on Monday.
Rooney was amongst those to perform well below expectations at
Goodison Park and many fans yesterday immediately hailed Ferguson’s
decision as the right one.
However, it must have been a blow to the striker’s pride if
And with the transfer window due to close on Friday, there is
bound to be some talk of Rooney’s future, if only outside the
Certainly Ferguson was quick to quell such talk even as Rooney
was heading to hospital.
“He and Robin van Persie are needing games,” said the Scot.
“To start the two of them would have been too much. Wayne
“There is no problem. He played his part when he came on.”
Rooney did have just three pre-season outings, although
including the Everton game, did have five hours’ action under his
belt prior to kick-off, significantly more than Van Persie, who
admits he is still a couple of weeks away from full fitness.
However, whilst Kagawa was excellent yesterday, what must also
be factored into Ferguson’s use of the summer arrival from Borussia
Dortmund is that his international break involves a draining return
home and World Cup qualifiers against United Arab Emirates and
Ferguson noted with Park Ji-Sung that his performance levels
tended to dip in such circumstances, so the threat to Rooney’s
status as United’s number one man need not be long lasting.
And Van Persie, whilst keen to spread the praise across his
team-mates, expects Rooney to be his main strike partner this
“Wayne is a world-class player,” said the Dutchman.
“He can give you everything; assists, goals. He is quick,
technical. He loves to link up as well.
“I am looking forward to that combination of course.
“I am a football fan. I like to enjoy my work. With Wayne and
all the others I think I can do that.”