Wayne Rooney has been ruled out for up to two months as Manchester United’s leading goalscorer and captain has suffered a knee injury at a crucial stage of the season.
[ MORE: LVG disrespecting Europa League? ]
Rooney, 30, was left out of United’s squad to travel to play FC Midtjylland in the Europa League Round of 32 first leg on Thursday and now multiple reports are claiming that the striker has suffered ligament damage.
[ MORE: Ronaldo slams Barca’s stars ]
United’s manager Louis Van Gaal spoke to the media in Denmark on Wednesday and confirmed the injury to United’s talisman but said he isn’t sure how long he will be out for.
Van Gaal confirmed Rooney was injured during the 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on Saturday and outlets in the UK claim that Rooney will miss 6-8 weeks which would seem him ruled out until April. With EURO 2016 on the horizon the English national team will also be concerned that their captain has gone down with a knee injury.
United now have 13 players unavailable for selection.
With United out of the UEFA Champions League, six points off the top four and now missing their leading man for a pivotal stretch of the season, Van Gaal will be under even more pressure and on Thursday in the Europa League he has an 18-man squad which consists of youngsters Will Keane, 23, Regan Poole, 17, Joe Riley, 19, and James Weir, 21, as the likes of Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian are also missing.
The absence of Rooney is the major story though, as he is the heartbeat of United’s team.
[ MORE: MLS worried about CSL riches? ]
After a slow start to this season Rooney has been in fine form recently with seven goals in his last nine appearances — he leads United in goals this season with 14 in all competitions — but now he will spend some time on the sidelines and Anthony Martial is their only fit first-team striker with Keane in reserve.
[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]
United are in the FA Cup last 16, the Europa League last 32 and have an outside chance of making the top four but without Rooney it will certainly be more difficult.