MANCHESTER, February 18 – Manchester United have been dealt a heavy blow with the news that skipper Wayne Rooney will be sidelined for six weeks due to a knee injury.
Rooney suffered the injury during last week’s 2-1 defeat to Sunderland, and could miss as many as eight matches as a result, including the Manchester derby, a possible FA Cup quarter-final and two rounds of Europa League action.
“It’s difficult to say [how long he will be out], but he’s injured in the game versus Sunderland and has a knee problem. We have to wait and see how long that takes. I cannot say,” explained United boss Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman added: “He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope.”
The striker completed the 90 minutes against the Black Cats, and Van Gaal refused to criticise his captain for playing through the pain.
“That’s also typical Wayne. He’s a guy who wants to go until the end and if he’s feeling a pain he doesn’t want to go off. He wants to win,” he said
“That’s a fantastic attitude but sometimes it’s also bad for his body.
“But you cannot say [if he made the injury worse] because he didn’t know when it happened. That’s the difficulty.”
In Rooney’s absence, youngsters Anthony Martial and Will Keane, who recently returned from a loan spell with Preston, will be forced to shoulder the attacking responsibilities.
“We have in Martial another striker, he has played several matches in this role and wants to play in it, then I have called Will Keane back and he has done very well in the second team,” said Van Gaal.
“Sometimes you have to show it at the higher level and maybe he’ll get the chance to show it – you never know.”