Old Trafford boss decides not to risk goal machine, or is he just fibbing?
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that Wayne Rooney has “no chance” of playing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Rooney sustained ankle ligament damage in United’s 2-1 defeat in the first leg of the quarter-final, but reports had suggested an early return was possible.
United do have defender John O’Shea available again after his leg injury.
Bayern look set to recall winger Arjen Robben (calf), while defender Daniel van Buyten is now also fit.
United need to overcome a one-goal deficit to progress to the semi-final stages of the competition for the third successive season.
Ferguson’s side had led in Munich until late goals from Franck Ribery and Ivica Olic gave the German side a slender advantage.
Rooney was injured in the dying seconds of the game ahead of Olic’s stoppage-time winner and was later ruled out for two to three weeks.
However, there has been speculation that the in-form striker, who has scored 34 goals in all competitions for United this season, was responding well to treatment and would be rushed back in order to rescue a campaign in danger of collapse following defeats to Bayern last week and title rivals Chelsea on Saturday.
But Rooney sat out United’s open training session on Tuesday and Ferguson said there was “no chance” of him starting on Wednesday.
The United manager added: “We have made some good progress with the lad and the medical team have done fantastic, but I am not prepared to take a risk on a player who is not 100% fit.
“They are looking more at the Manchester City game, maybe Blackburn as a substitute. That is possible.
“But it is an ankle injury, the same as any other. He is no different to anyone else.”
Asked whether Rooney could be on the bench against Bayern, Ferguson said: “I don’t think so, although he will maybe talk me into it. It is a difficult one.” (BBC Sport)
Its the kind of news that England fans will be very happy to hear but perhaps not so good for Old Trafford supporters hoping to see their side get one over Bayern Munich tonight. Sir Alex Ferguson is a smart man and he knows that risking a player who is clearly not fit can only really end in tears. Some have suggested that perhaps the wily old Scot is in fact telling porkies and is in fact ready to name the England striker on the bench, an issue that Bayern boss Louis Van Gaal touched upon.
“When we played Fiorentina we were faced with a different team than we thought and that does happen in the football business,” he said.
“But I don’t think Ferguson will do that and I’d also like to say that we did win a game with Rooney (playing) – it’s not as if we can’t win when Wayne Rooney is playing for Manchester United. We don’t even need to win – a draw is fine.”
I would say that Manchester United are still favourites to come away from the game with what they need to get through to the Champions League semi-final but they will have to be wary of the counter attacking threat posed by in form winger Arjen Robben.
Hold on to your hats it could well be a tasty encounter.