Europa: Rooney returns against St Etienne
Wayne Rooney has made a surprise return to training at Manchester United, paving the way for a first-team return at St Etienne in the Europa League on Wednesday.
Rooney, 31, had been expected to miss the clash with Les Verts, who trail 3-0 from last week’s first leg at Old Trafford.
He sat out the FA Cup fifth-round victory at Blackburn Rovers two days ago with a muscle strain.
Manager Jose Mourinho then appeared to rule the club captain out of the St Etienne trip, saying: “I don’t think he will recover.”
But Rooney has now put himself back into contention, not only for the Europa League tie but also for Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley after joining his United teammates on the training pitch.
Rooney has not started a game for United since the FA Cup fourth-round win at home to Wigan Athletic on Jan. 29 and has not appeared at all since the 0-0 Premier League draw against Hull City on Feb. 1.
That has led to renewed speculation that he could move to the Chinese Super League before next Tuesday’s Chinese transfer deadline.
But with such a move regarded as unlikely, Rooney could now return to action in France.
Mourinho’s players are due to fly to France this lunchtime, with the suspended Ander Herrera and injured Phil Jones the only expected absentees.