Van Gaal may rush Rooney back for Cup tie

Wayne Rooney controlling the ball during United's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in their English Under-21 Premier League game. He looked a little rusty but came through without any problems and is desperate for play time to strengthen his claim for a st
Wayne Rooney controlling the ball during United's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in their English Under-21 Premier League game. He looked a little rusty but came through without any problems and is desperate for play time to strengthen his claim for a starting spot in the England side for Euro 2016.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Wayne Rooney could be involved in Manchester United's FA Cup quarter-final replay at West Ham tonight, after featuring for the club's Under 21-team on Monday.

The United skipper played for 61 minutes against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford in his first outing since Feb 13, as United manager Louis van Gaal watched from the stands.

The Dutchman now has to decide if just over an hour's work is enough for Rooney to prove his fitness. The forward came through without any problems but looked slightly rusty in the 1-0 win.

Rooney's return for the final weeks of the season is a significant boost to van Gaal, whose side have scored just five times in their past eight fixtures, with Ashley Young playing up front in the second half of a 3-0 defeat by Tottenham on Sunday.

Rooney is desperate to win the FA Cup for the first time. The 30-year-old also has the additional incentive of ensuring he is fully fit and in form as he looks ahead to Euro 2016.

The England captain will want to cement his place in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up in France, after watching Tottenham's Harry Kane and Leicester's Jamie Vardy continue to impress for club and country while he has been out.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Van Gaal may rush Rooney back for Cup tie'. Print Edition | Subscribe