Wayne Rooney has handed Louis van Gaal an injury boost after the Manchester United captain admitted that he is "not too far away" from returning to action. The striker last featured for the Red Devils during their 2-1 defeat to Sunderland on 13 February.
Since then, he has missed key fixtures including two Europa League clashes against Liverpool and the trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City due to a knee injury. The former Everton man claims he will return to full training in less than two weeks time.
"Hopefully, I think if everything goes to plan, I am back outside running now, then I will hope to be back in full training within the next week or 10 days, so I am not too far away," Rooney said, as quoted on United's official website.
United are sixth in the league with 50 points after 30 matches, one point behind Manchester City, who are placed fourth. Rooney's return will be a timely boost for United and Louis van Gaal as they chase for a top four finish this season.
Rooney's time on the sidelines has forced him to miss England's friendly fixtures against Germany and the Netherlands. In his absence, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane and Leicester City's star player Jamie Vardy, along with Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, were included in the squad.
Both Kane and Vardy were on the scoresheet against Germany as England came from behind to win the fixture 3-2, but lost 2-1 to the Netherlands at Wembley on 29 March. Vardy scored for Roy Hodgson's side.
As Kane and Vardy have impressed with their performance, and Sturridge returning to full fitness, concerns have been raised as to whether Rooney should be included in the squad for the summer's European championship in France. However, he insists that he will fight for a place in the England squad and will not take his spot for granted.
"As I have said throughout my career at Man United and with England, I never take my place for granted," the England captain explained.
"Obviously you want to play and it is great that the competition is there, it hasn't always been there but the quality we have got is there to see.
"It is exciting to be a part of and I can't wait to get back fit, get back out there with the lads. Certainly it is something that I enjoy doing and it is something that I want to keep doing. I am going to keep going and get ready."