Wayne Rooney has been left out of Manchester United’s 20-man squad for the Europa League match at Feyenoord on Thursday to give him some rest.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard, who struggled in Saturday’s derby defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford, will also not travel to the Netherlands.
The squad was announced on United’s official website and United manager Jose Mourinho revealed in his prematch news conference: “He [Rooney] has played every game since the start of the season and he also played 90 minutes for the England team [against Slovakia]. He played 90 minutes last weekend [against Manchester City]. I want him to be fresh for the next Premier League match [against Watford on Sunday].
“In the position he plays [No. 10], I have lots of solutions. In the positions where I have other solutions, it means I can have fresh players for this game and then fresh players for the game on Sunday. I’ll try to have a strong team here and a strong team for Sunday. He [Wayne] took it professionally, like the other players.”
Mkhitaryan was selected for the derby despite suffering a thigh injury on international duty with Armenia, but was not at an open training session with the rest of the squad in Manchester earlier in the day.
United’s regular starting full-backs, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw, have also both been left at home — paving the way for the likes of Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo and Tim Fosu-Mensah to stake a claim — while Phil Jones is facing another month out injured after sustaining knee ligament damage in training.
Shaw has been rested, meaning that Rojo will start, but Mourinho denied that the England player’s injury history was a reason for that. Shaw had been out for nine months due to a double leg-break — sustained against PSV Eindhoven — before returning this season.
“I didn’t make the decision based on that negative episode,” Mourinho said. “Luke is a very good player, who is working well and hard.
“My options in the first four matches have been Luke, Luke, Luke, Luke and I think it is time for Marcos to play so it was a simple decision. Marcos is a very good player who is working really well and hard.”