Wayne Rooney's spot in the upcoming European Championships is under doubt after the striker suffered a setback in his recovery from injury. The England international was expected to be back after the international break, but is unlikely to be available for another month, which will make it very difficult for him to be back into full fitness before the tournament.
Louis van Gaal has revealed that Rooney is not likely to recover very soon and has refused to give a return date for his star player. It will be a major dilemma for Roy Hodgson, who is wary of taking a any player to France, who is not 100% fit. Rooney, with his return being postponed, is unlikely to be back at his best before the end of the season.
"Wayne still has weeks to go. He is not even close. I cannot say how many weeks, as you never know. It is a conservative healing process, not like an operation, so you will have to wait and see," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Mirror.
Rooney last featured for United in the game against Sunderland on 13 February, after which his initial prognosis suggested that the player would be available for the final few games of the season. However, he has not recovered as expected and despite having removed his knee brace, the former Everton player will need more time to first-team training.
Hodgson, meanwhile, has a plethora of options should Rooney fail to make it to France, with the likes of Harry Kane, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge all capable of leading the line for the Three Lions. The same cannot be said about United, who have suffered their first defeat to Liverpool in five games under Van Gaal, when they were pulverised at Anfield by a Liverpool side who were up for the job in the first leg of the round of 16 tie of the Europa League.
Lack of options up front was seen as the prime reason for their failure and it is a tall order for the Dutchman to reconstruct the season, with a top-four spot almost out of the horizon.