Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney will miss his side’s Europa League game at FC Midtjylland on Thursday after picking a knee ligament injury on Saturday’s match against Sunderland.
The club confirmed that the England captain was left behind when the rest of the 18-man squad travelled to Denmark on Wednesday for the first leg of their last-32 tie against FC Midtylland.
Rooney is believed to have picked the injury at Sunderland on Saturday and will remain on the sidelines for the next six weeks.
Although several media outlets have reported that the 30-year-old forward, United boss Louis van Gaal has refused to confirm a timeframe for Rooney’s return to fitness.
Speaking at his press conference in Denmark, Van Gaal said: “He has a knee problem so we have to wait and see. He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that.”
When asked to explain a timeframe for Rooney’s recovery, he said: “It’s difficult to say, but he’s injured in the game versus Sunderland and has a knee problem. We have to wait and see how long that takes. I cannot say.”
Rooney’s injury is not much of a bad news to England because with a recovery timeframe of 6 weeks his participation in Euro 2016 is not in doubt, but he is likely to miss two friendlies against Germany and Netherlands.
Rooney’s absence will see Anthony Martial take up the center-forward roles and Van Gaal has already considered the former Monaco man.
“We have in Martial another striker, he has played several matches in this role and wants to play in it, then I have called Will Keane back and he has done very well in the second team” the Dutchman said.
“Sometimes you have to show it at the higher level and maybe he’ll get the chance to show it – you never know.”
Rooney managed to play a whole 90 mins against Sunderland, despite his knee problem and Van Gaal has praised him for such a good struggle.
“That’s also typical Wayne. He’s a guy who wants to go until the end and if he is feeling pain, he doesn’t want to go away, and certainly when you are drawing a match because he wants to win,” he said.
“That’s a fantastic attitude but also it’s bad for his body. You do not know when it happened, so that’s the difficulty.”