Wayne Rooney is closing in a return to Manchester United’s first team.
Rooney, 30, played 60 minutes for United’s U-21 side on Monday as they beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at Old Trafford.
[ PLAYBACK: Spurs still believe ]
United’s captain and talisman has been out injured since early February with a knee injury and there were growing fears he could be an injury doubt through the rest of the season and for England at the 2016 European Championships this summer.
Rooney had a few efforts from long range during the game and came through the match unscathed, which is good news for Louis Van Gaal who was watching on from the stands.
[ MORE: Leicester tickets selling for $22,000 ]
United face West Ham United in the FA Cup quarterfinal replay on Wednesday at Upton Park and under-fired boss Van Gaal may look to include his captain on the bench, at least.
With United four points behind Manchester City in the race for fourth place and one game away from reaching an FA Cup semifinal, having their top goalscorer return will be a big boost.
During the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday, Van Gaal started with teenager Marcus Rashford up front but subbed him out at half time and bizarrely played Ashley Young out of position in a central striking role. United only created one clear cut chance against Spurs and their lack of creativity in the final third was evident. Rooney’s return will obviously help in that department.
Rooney’s importance to United is obvious and although Rashford and Anthony Martial have picked up some of the slack over the past two months, having their star man back should boost the Red Devils as they push for the top four and FA Cup glory.
The second-highest goalscorer in United’s history was in fine form before he was injured, as he scored seven times in 10 outings in all competitions.
Let’s see if he can carry on where he left off…