Illness could keep Rooney out of Manchester United line-up against Sunderland

Interim manager Giggs boosted by Van Persie's return to training
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, centre, reacts after the Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich on April 9, 2014. Michael Dalder / Reuters
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, centre, reacts after the Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich on April 9, 2014. Michael Dalder / Reuters

Ryan Giggs says several of his players are fighting illness, among them Wayne Rooney, who may not be able to play in the interim manager’s second match in charge of Manchester United, against Sunderland on Saturday at Old Trafford.

“A few of the lads have had a bug. Anders Lindegaard has, and so has Wayne,” Giggs said. “Wayne has a tight groin also, so obviously with the bug, you have to be careful with that because his immune system is down.

“Wayne being Wayne, he wants to be involved, so we will just monitor it during the next 24 hours.”

Since United beat Norwich City 4-0 in Giggs’s first game in charge, Juan Mata, Rooney and Lindegaard have backed the Welshman to be the club’s long-term replacement for departed David Moyes.

United want a more experienced man at the helm, however, and have held discussions with Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands coach, who could be appointed in the next few days.

Giggs has yet to decide if he wants to be part of Van Gaal’s staff.

“The main concentration I have is on the Sunderland game, and then after that, the remaining two games,” he said. “I have a lot to think about, whether to continue playing … We will see what happens at the end of the season.”

Giggs has been handed a boost ahead of the Sunderland game with the news that Robin van Persie is back in training. The Dutch striker has been out with a knee injury since scoring a match-winning hat-trick in United’s victory over Olympiakos on March 19.

Sunderland coach Guy Poyet says his side must build on recent performances against Manchester City, Chelsea and Cardiff City.

“People ask whether I would prefer Manchester United to be in good form or not, or missing key players,” he said. “Me, I would prefer that we go out and perform.

“We need to go there and use our qualities. If Rooney, [Danny] Welbeck, [Antonio] Valencia, [Michael] Carrick and Van Persie play, and they are all at the top, top level, it is going to be very difficult. We need to make sure that we bring them down in their quality to a certain level where we can go and take advantage.”

sports@thenational.ae

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Published: May 2, 2014 04:00 AM

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