Wayne Rooney will miss this weekend’s upcoming Premier League match with Newcastle and his status for Wednesday’s Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich is in serious doubt.
The English international star picked up an injury in the first leg against the German giants, and the severity has yet to be determined.
United manager David Moyes called the injury “touch-and-go” and said more tests are needed to indicate whether the toe is bruised or if Rooney has possibly picked up a much more serious hairline fracture.
The injury is a massive blow to the Red Devils, who are all but out of the race for the Premier League’s top four, but grabbed a positive 1-1 draw with Bayern in the first leg and had hopes of a monumental upset for next Wednesday’s reverse fixture.
Instead, they may have to trudge on with their best player in the treatment room.
Rooney has dealt with the occasional groin or hamstring knock this season, but has largely avoided anything serious thus far.
“There is not an awful lot you can do with a toe injury,” Moyes said in his pre-match presser ahead of the Newcastle game. “Sometimes you can feel better quite quickly with them and sometimes you need an injection possibly to play with it if it is bruising.”
Moyes will likely turn to Danny Welbeck in Rooney’s place. The 23-year-old has started 13 times in the Premier League campaign, and started on the wing in the first leg against Bayern, playing 85 minutes.
The injury could also give Shinji Kagawa more playing time, a positive for United against their Champions League foes. Kagawa has never lost to Bayern in his professional career, and was positive in his substitute appearance in the first leg. With Welbeck possibly moving up front, Kagawa could take his place on the wing. Another option is leaving Welbeck out on the touchline and sliding Javier Hernandez into the striker slot.
But can he grow a beard?
Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford is known for his darting runs and clever finishes, but he grew up begging to get between the sticks with a lot of love for an American.
“Howard was my idol. I used to have a little Tim Howard shirt.”
[ MORE: Dempsey still wants USMNT role ]
Rashford said he’d ask his youth coach to allow him to play goal so he could mimic his hero, who at the time was the Manchester United backstop and now USMNT legend.
The 20-year-old was nine when Howard left Old Trafford, but it hasn’t changed his enjoyment for tending goal. Rashford joked that he’s got to be the choice to replace David De Gea in case of a post-sub emergency.
David Moyes‘ first match in charge of West Ham United sees a striker change at Vicarage Road against testy Watford (Watch live at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Andy Carroll will be up top, and Andre Ayew is hurt to boot.
Marco Silva leads Watford’s hosts with Adrian Mariappa, Christian Kabasele, and Miguel Britos at the back of a 3-5-2.
Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenía, Cleverley, Doucouré, Zeegelaar; Hughes, Richarlison; Gray. Subs: Karnezis, Prödl, Holebas, Capoue, Pereyra, Carrillo, Okaka.
West Ham United: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Obiang, Arnautovic, Lanzini, Carroll. Subs: Adrian, Masuaku, Rice, Fernandes, Quina, Sakho, Martinez.
Clint Dempsey is tied with Landon Donovan for the most goals in USMNT history, and seems set to continue with the side in some capacity as he threatens to stand alone in American history.
[ MLS: Steve Bruce to Miami? ]
The 34-year-old striker spoke with Steve Zakuani on the Sounders’ web site (video below) and said he’s happy to accept continued call-ups should they arrive from USSF headquarters.
“We’ll see what happens,” Dempsey said.” I mean, in terms of what I’ve been able to accomplish with the national team, I’m at peace with it. It’s not really about me. It’s about a group of guys that want to be moving forward.
“If there’s an opportunity that comes where you get to play a role and try to help and I’m feeling good and I’m playing well, then yeah, you’ll never say no. But you know, if the call never comes I’m still happy, still at peace, and focused on being here and trying to make the most of the time I have left.”
There are a number of players whose national team futures should be in question, but Dempsey is in a different class. No one has debated his motor or fuel, and his engine is still there (to complete the Springsteen-esque car comparisons, he remains one of the only things that qualifiers as chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line).
If anything, he plays too close to the edge. That’s not something I see as one of the Yanks’ problems right now, so perhaps Dempsey needs to be viewed like Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Carlos Ruiz as a CONCACAF guy who’s around as long as he wants to be a part of it.
I mean, shoot, if Dempsey wants to keep passing the fire to Christian Pulisic and now Weston McKennie, there are far worse ambassadors for the program. He’s the most accomplished field player in recent history, and will be able to share so much when it comes to balancing club and country.
Heck, maybe he needs to be the late era Ryan Giggs of the 2018-2022 USMNT.
He’s got the same initials as South Beach, you know?
Steve Bruce is being tipped to be the first manager of David Beckham’s Miami MLS outfit, according to The Sun.
[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup ]
It’s going to be some time before Bruce would have the opportunity. The 56-year-old former Manchester United star has Aston Villa in a Football League Championship promotion push, and Miami does not even have a start date for life on an MLS pitch.
Of course, managerial life tends to be short, so there’s no guarantee Bruce will have a job at any point during the build-up to Miami in MLS. And several expansion clubs have named their coach very early in the team building process (Jason Kreis and Bob Bradley amongst others).
Bruce on MLS’ parity-driven playing field, if not as one of the big spenders, would be intriguing to watch. He’s a terrific man motivator and has the connections to combine with Beckham to make something special happen in terms of personnel.