Manchester United faces another big test this weekend with a trip to city rivals Manchester City. The Red Devils have been without their skipper for their last three outings due to suspension but he will be available for this monumental clash. Wayne Rooney was seen training on Friday and manager Louis van Gaal confirmed his skipper is fit to play in the Manchester derby.
The 29 year old was seen limping at the launch of a new watch sponsorship and it was reported by the media that he was injured and in doubt for United’s second big clash in as many weeks. However, his Dutch manager revealed in his pre-mathc press conference that the England striker is fit and ready to play while Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is still out injured.
Van Gaal said, ‘Falcao is still injured. Rooney was never injured. He shall play, he is my captain. I think [Antonio] Valencia is fit again to play. He [Rooney] has scored a lot of goals against City, the most of any player. I am very happy that he can play, and he shall.’
Radamel Falcao had picked up a knock in training last week which kept him out of the game against Chelsea which ended in a 1-1 draw. The Colombian was expected to be fit and ready for the derby but it seems the injury is a lot more serious than was initially stated. His absence could mean that Robin van Persie will start as the lone striker with Rooney playing off him at the expense of Juan Mata.
The master tactician also hinted that Marouanne Fellaini will retain his place in midfield after impressing in his last two games. The former Everton midfielder had a terrible first year at Old Trafford but seems to have settled in nicely at the moment.
Van Gaal on Fellaini, ‘He has made a great contribution and also the assist for the [Chelsea] goal. He has had a lot of time out injured but when he is fit I have played him. He has to continue with that because then I am very pleased.’