Wayne Rooney appears on track to be fit for the EFL Cup final after returning to Manchester United training on Tuesday (21 February). Last featuring as a half-time substitute during a disappointing goalless draw with Hull City at the beginning of February, the 31-year-old skipper missed the emphatic win at Leicester City due to illness and was left on the bench for the subsequent defeat of Watford.
Rooney, along with veteran midfielder Michael Carrick, was then ruled out of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired 3-0 first-leg win over Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford with what Jose Mourinho insisted was a minor muscle problem.
"Wayne and Michael, I don't want to say injuries because I don't think we are speaking about injuries," the manager said. "We are speaking about little problems and protection for these problems, so they are out."
Rooney also played no part in Sunday's (19 February) FA Cup fifth-round victory at Championship strugglers Blackburn Rovers and Mourinho simply replied "I don't know" when asked yesterday if his captain would be available for next weekend's Wembley date with Southampton.
Mourinho also cast doubt upon Rooney's availability for tomorrow night's Europa League return fixture and it has now been confirmed that the experienced record goal-scorer will not feature at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard after being left out of a 20-man travelling squad.
David de Gea and Antonio Valencia are both included alongside the fit-again Carrick after being rested at Ewood Park, although Phil Jones remains sidelined with a hamstring problem and must now be considered doubtful for Sunday's final. Ander Herrera is also banned for the second leg after incurring a one-match suspension by picking up his third yellow card of the competition last week.
Mkhitaryan missed the opening meeting with Les Verts due to illness, but returned to play 90 minutes and set up Rashford's first-half equaliser against Blackburn. Luke Shaw remains out of the first-team picture, while fellow full-back Matteo Darmian has also not made the trip to France.