Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney remains a doubt for the English Football League Cup final against Southampton as he continues to nurse a muscle injury. The England skipper has missed the last two games with the issue and is likely to be absent again for the Europa League last 32 second-leg against Saint-Etienne.
The 31-year-old has not played for his club since early February, having been absent against Leicester City due to illness before being an unused substitute against Watford. The former Everton striker will miss out for a fifth game in a row in mid-week, meaning at the very least he will be lacking match sharpness for the showcase final at Wembley.
Defender Phil Jones also missed the tie with a foot injury and has not played since the Premier League draw with Hull City, and is also out of the trip to France on Thursday [23 February]. Goalkeeper David de Gea and right-back Antonio Valencia missed the 2-1 win against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park but are both expected to return after being rested.
"De Gea was rested," Mournho told reporters, according to the official United website. "Rooney is injured. Jones is injured. I don't think they will recover [to face Saint-Etienne on Wednesday]. Antonio Valencia was rested but Rooney and Jones haven't trained with the team yet so I don't think they will be there for Wednesday." When asked if Rooney would be available against Southampton, he added: "I don't know."
Rooney has not played for United since his second half cameo against Hull on 1 February, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic having scored five goals in his last four appearances he could be sidelined regardless of his fitness. With just five goals in 29 appearances this term, Rooney has been largely sidelined by Mourinho and despite being club captain could yet be denied the chance to added to his trophy cabinet.
Courtesy of Ibrahimovic's hat-trick, United have all-but secured a place in the last 16 of the Europa League and will likely send a significantly weakened side to for the second leg at Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium. Sergio Romero, Jessie Lingard and Ashley Young started the comeback win over Blackburn and that could continue as the club continue to fight on fours fronts this season.