Rooney returns to action for Man United

BY foxsports • September 10, 2010

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney can expect a hostile reception when he returns to Goodison Park on Saturday for a Premier League match against former club Everton.

The 24-year-old striker should start against the club that sold him to United in 2004, despite the likelihood of abuse from home fans.

"There is a good chance he will get slaughtered," said Everton defender Phil Jagielka, who played alongside Rooney for England on Tuesday. "He normally gets quite a bit of stick anyway. I can't see that changing come Saturday."

United manager Alex Ferguson refused to discuss Rooney and the player's off-field issues in a pre-match news conference, instead opting to focus on the threat posed by an opponent which has picked up just one point from its opening three matches.

"Everton's a hard place to go - the atmosphere's always terrific - but we have a fantastic record there," Ferguson said. "I think I've lost only three times there in 24 years."

Rooney scored his first league goal of the season in a 3-0 win over West Ham before the international break that lifted the 18-time English champions to seven points, two behind leader Chelsea.

He should again partner the in-form Dimitar Berbatov up front while Ferguson must decide whether to recall England center back Rio Ferdinand, who is available after recovering from knee injury.

Everton is without young midfielder Jack Rodwell, who has been ruled out for up to three months with an ankle injury.

Chelsea is the only side to have won all three so far this campaign, scoring 14 goals without conceding. Next up is a trip to West Ham, which is without a point and has conceded three goals in each of its matches.

"I know they are bottom, but on the pitch it is different and we have to play well," Chelsea defender Alex said. "We have to start the game strong and ... attack in the first 15 minutes."

West Ham is managed by Avram Grant, who guided Chelsea to the Champions League final in 2008 but is under pressure following his new club's poor start.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was busy as usual on deadline day, signing Netherlands midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, and both players could make their debuts in the match at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Recent arrivals William Gallas and Sandro are also in line for Spurs debuts but England striker Jermain Defoe was ruled out for three months following surgery on torn ankle ligaments.

Second-place Arsenal, which is level on seven points with United, is at home to Bolton but is short of attacking options after injuries to striker Robin van Persie and winger Theo Walcott.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Manchester City hosts Blackburn, Wolverhampton Wanderers is at Fulham, Newcastle is at home to Blackpool and Wigan hosts Sunderland.

On Sunday, Liverpool could give debuts to new signings Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky when it plays Birmingham, which has yet to lose this season.

On Monday, Aston Villa plays for the first time since the club appointed Gerard Houllier as manager, succeeding Martin O'Neill.

Villa, which is at second-from-last Stoke, climbed up to fourth place under temporary manager Kevin MacDonald, who will be in charge for the final time before Houllier takes over.

share story