Whenever Manchester United play without Wayne Rooney, I feel on edge. It doesn’t matter who the opposition are, it doesn’t matter what competition we’re playing in, Rooney is the first player I always want to see in our team. His ability, coupled with his winning mentality, mean he is a necessity to our team.

Whilst people say you can pluck out statistics to prove what you like, I don’t think it is any coincidence that Rooney was missing for four of our five defeats last season, and in the fifth, against Chelsea, scored the equalising goal but was subbed off through injury when the score was level.

He makes the difference for United, like Roy Keane and Eric Cantona in the past, and news that he’d picked up a virus in Nigeria were not welcomed. Of course, if he’s not breaking bones in his foot, he’s picking up unknown illnesses in Africa!

However, more promising news has emerged today…

Whilst Michael Owen is unlikely to feature in the opening game of the season at Old Trafford, it appears as though Rooney, who has been in training since Monday, will be ready for Sunday’s league match against Newcastle.

After working himself hard on the training ground, Rooney has declared himself fit for our first game of the season.

United had a dreadful start to the season last year, drawing against Reading and Portsmouth, whilst losing to City, before recording our first victory of the season against Spurs. Still, we went on to win the league, proving that a perfect start isn’t essential.

However, starting the season with a win is obviously preferable, and our chances of achieving that are certainly boosted with Rooney in the team!

How important is Rooney’s inclusion on the opening day of the season?