Despite still not having returned to full training, Wayne Rooney has a 50/50 chance of being fit for this season’s first Manchester derby as United take on City at the Etihad a week on Sunday.
The United striker has been working with the club’s physios as he aims to recover from the severe cut to his head he suffered after accidentally colliding with Phil Jones in training over 10 days ago.
The injury has kept the 27-year-old out of United’s trip to Anfield as well as England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine this week and Rooney is expected to sit out Sunday’s clash against Crystal Palace and Tuesday’s Champions League opener against Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford.
After a turbulent summer which saw him agitating for a move away from the club, Rooney came off the bench to provide two assists in United’s first league at Swansea and was one of the best players on the pitch against Chelsea in an otherwise dull 0-0 draw. David Moyes knows that while the season will be only five games old by the time United travel across town, a second slip-up following the defeat at Anfield would put the team under increasing pressure and he’s likely to wait until the eleventh hour before making a decision on Rooney.
The England international has scored three times in the last four league matches he’s played against City, including a brace in last year’s corresponding fixture when his goals gave United an early 2-0 lead, before Robin Van Persie stole the show with a last-minute winner that caused bedlam in the United end.
Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini, United’s only significant signing this summer is expected to make his debut on Sunday as United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, hopefully alongside Michael Carrick, rather than behind the main striker.
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