Rooney on the mend


DOHA, November 17 – Wayne Rooney is in line for a return to Manchester United's squad — if he comes through a fitness assessment which has been planned for Thursday, according to team manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rooney has been sidelined with an ankle injury for several weeks but has spent a week in the United States building up his fitness.

The striker has now returned to England and although Ferguson would not say when Rooney would play a competitive match the Scot said he was on the mend.

"Wayne has had a good week in Oregon. He’s done well," Ferguson told an audience Wednesday during a talk at the Aspire4Sport conference in Doha, Qatar.

"Now, he’s back and he will train today," he said.

"We have to assess if he’s ready to get into the first team. That is an area which I couldn’t give you an answer to you because the only evidence we will have is on the training field and I’ll see that tomorrow."

Rooney came close to quitting the club last month after claiming United were unprepared to compete in the transfer market for top players.

Days later, United tied Rooney to a deal that makes him the highest-paid player in United’s 132-year history.

It remains to be seen how fans react when Rooney, who scored 26 of the club’s 86 Premier League goals but had a disastrous World Cup, runs out at Old Trafford again.

But Ferguson believes the Old Trafford faithful are ready to forgive.

Ferguson added that Rooney’s decision to quit the club was down to "taking bad advice" from an "agent, how would you put, is not the most popular man in the world".

"The boy rushed in," added Ferguson. "The minute the response of the public and supporters and press had a say, he changed his mind immediately because he knew he made a mistake … He immediately apologized and agreed on a new contract in a couple of hours."

Ferguson said he believes fans will soon come to forgive Rooney when they see him scoring goals again.

"I think the evidence will be on the football pitch," he said. "We want to get Wayne to his best. When that happens, everything will be okay."