Wayne Rooney is back in business.
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With rumors continuing to swirl that Rooney, 31, will leave Manchester United at the end of February and join the Chinese Super League, United’s captain is back in training ahead of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg tie at St. Etienne on Wednesday.
Rooney hasn’t played for United since Feb. 1 in the 0-0 draw against Hull City in the Premier League as he first picked up a muscle injury and then needed dental treatment to fix a root canal issue. United haven’t struggled recently in their last four games without Rooney as Jose Mourinho’s men remain 16 games unbeaten in the Premier League.
That suggests Rooney may not feature against St. Etienne in France on Wednesday with United 3-0 up from the first leg and all but through to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Rooney’s potential return will boost Mourinho’s attacking options ahead of the EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday.
But does he really need him?
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic in fine form, plus Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford all chipping in with goals and assists in Rooney’s absence the England and United legend may find it tough to just make the bench for the EFL Cup final.
If he’s fit enough, Mourinho will surely give Rooney at least a place on the bench. Who knows, it could be his final chance to lift a trophy as United’s captain before he departs.
Rooney’s time at United appears to be coming towards an end, be it now or in the summer, but surely he’d like to lead them out at Wembley at least one more time and lift his 11th major title as a Red Devil.