Louis van Gaal has revealed Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney will make his comeback from injury in the club’s under-21 side next week.
Rooney has been sidelined for 11 games due to a knee injury and United manager Van Gaal has opted not to rush him back to face Premier League title-chasing Tottenham on Sunday.
Instead, the 30-year-old striker will play for the reserve team against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford next Monday – 48 hours before United’s FA Cup quarterfinal replay at West Ham.
“He is playing for the Under-21s and it’s going very well,” Van Gaal told reporters on Friday.
“He has trained with us only two times, so not too much, so he has to build up his capacity in the Under-21 team.”
Having had up to 10 senior players injured at the same time earlier this season, United’s injury problems are clearing up with only Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj unavailable for the trip to White Hart Lane.
And Van Gaal admits that has given him a more enjoyable selection headache to deal with in his squad.
“It makes my job more easy because I can select better, but it makes the time for my players a little bit more difficult,” he said.
“There was a time that I could not select only the fit players. Now with all the youngsters who have proved they are capable to play, with all the players who are coming back, now I have to select.
“I have a bigger squad. I have said also to my players you have to help your colleagues when they are not selected.
“Now a lot of players are not selected to play or are sitting on the bench.”
While second-placed Tottenham are chasing leaders Leicester in a bid to win the title for the first time since 1961, United are desperate to finish in the top four to secure Champions League football next season.