Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has reportedly been given a tentative return date of April 16 as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.
The 30-year-old has been out since mid-February as he sustained the problem during the 2-1 defeat to Sunderland. Having already missed 10 games, the United captain will continue to sit out with the April 16 clash with Aston Villa touted as a possible comeback game.
However, according to The Telegraph, United will give him more time if required in order to avoid any further setbacks as controversy continues to surround the game in which Rooney first picked up the issue.
As noted by The Express, Rooney reportedly asked to be withdrawn from the game when he initially felt pain in the 65th minute. However, with the contest evenly poised at 1-1 at the time, manager Louis van Gaal asked him to complete the 90 minutes in order to give his side the chance to claim all three points.
Instead, United conceded a late goal and have been left without their influential forward since, with Rooney also losing his spot in back-to-back friendlies with England this week.
The former Everton ace will be desperate to return as soon as possible, as while his form this season prior to the injury wasn’t particularly impressive, he has come under further pressure since being sidelined.
Rooney has scored 14 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions so far this season, but now faces real competition for his place in the starting line-up for both club and country.
Marcus Rashford’s rise to prominence at Old Trafford has seen the youngster become a firm favourite with Van Gaal and the supporters, while Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy added to calls for Rooney to be dropped by Roy Hodgson as they led a stunning 3-2 comeback win over Germany on Saturday night.
In turn, Rooney faces a real battle to not only prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2016, but also to ensure that there are no question marks over his inclusion in the squad with a strong finish to the Premier League campaign.
However, the knee injury is a concern and the veteran will no doubt hope to fully recover before plotting his way back to the peak of his form.