Louis van Gaal has bemoaned the latest injury sustained by Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and revealed that the player is suffering from a very similar problem to club captain Wayne Rooney. The 31-year-old only returned from a two-month absence in the Europa League last-16 first-leg defeat to Liverpool in March, but there are now fears that he could be sidelined for the remainder of the season after picking up another problem on international duty.
Schweinsteiger was set to lead Germany during their recent friendly double-header, yet had to withdraw from contention prior to the 3-2 defeat against England at the Olympiastadion following a challenge in training. He was quickly sent along with team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt for an MRI scan in Munich, the results of which showed that he had sustained a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
While no exact time frame has been attached to his recovery, Rooney has been out for seven weeks since being hurt in a loss at Sunderland on 13 February and had been hoping to return quickly after the break in order to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2016.
"It is a big blow," Van Gaal was quoted as saying by the Manchester United website at a pre-match press conference held prior to the visit of Everton. "He (Schweinsteiger) is starting his rehabilitation. He has more or less the same injury as Wayne. We have to see how it heals."
He later added: "It is a tragic injury because the expectation is not so good for him in respect of of the European Championships, but you never know. I hope that he can reach that, but it shall be difficult."
Van Gaal was able to deliver more positive injury news concerning Luke Shaw, who has not played at all since suffering a grisly double leg fracture during a Champions League group stage clash against PSV Eindhoven in September 2015. He is now able to resume light training, while Ander Herrera and Ashley Young are also edging closer to full fitness.
"Luke Shaw will be back on the training pitch on Monday with the physio. Ander Herrera and Ashley Young are coming back. Young and Adnan Januzaj played with the reserves in a match on the Friday of the international break."
The manager appeared equally optimistic on Rooney, saying: "He's doing great. He trained today at a lower level with the ball and will probably play an Under-21s match before he comes back."
United's U21 side are in action against Chelsea on Monday (4 April) before hosting Middlesbrough at Old Trafford seven days later. Rooney is likely to feature in one of those matches before making his first-team return later in April.