Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has set his sights on returning from injury in April after the international break.
The England international last featured for the Red Devils in their 2-1 defeat to Sunderland due to a knee ligament injury. He has already missed key fixtures and will continue to miss the second leg Europa League tie against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Thursday and his side’s trip to the Etihad as they face Manchester City on Sunday.
England face Germany and Netherlands in international friendlies later this month. Earlier reports suggested that the former Everton striker has suffered a setback on his road to recovery. However, Rooney has played down those suggestions as he has set his sights on returning to action when the Premier League returns in April.
“Everything is going as planned. Rehab is going well but, hopefully, it won’t be too long,” Rooney told the club’s official website.
“I don’t know [when I will return]. Obviously, I will miss the international games but, hopefully, it won’t be too long. It’s not too bad but obviously it’s [a case of] just being a bit cautious. It’s difficult to push back. If I tried to push it to be involved now, it could cause more damage. So, being cautious, after the international break is more realistic.
“I am hoping that, if I am back when I am expected to be back, depending on the two cups we are in, then there could be over 10 games left plus the England games.
“I was saying before it has been eight games that I have missed. I didn’t realise it was that many so it’s obviously really frustrating. Myself, the manager and the doctor felt it was best for me to get a bit of rest and that is why I went away. That will do me good in the coming weeks.”
With Rooney out of action, Anthony Martial’s short absence forced Louis van Gaal to star Marcus Rashford. The teenage striker scored four goals in his first two matches and has been a regular inclusion in the starting lineup since then, even after Martial’s return from injury.
Rooney’s expected return can be a timely boost for Van Gaal and United, as they chase for a berth in the next season’s Champions League by finishing fourth.