Manchester United have the opportunity to go top of the table later today as they take on Wolves whilst Chelsea play in the FA Cup.
A draw would be enough to see us go top, thanks to a superior goal difference, whilst a win would put us two points clear with Chelsea not playing in the league again until next weekend, when they play West Ham at home.
With Michael Owen confirmed out for the rest of the season, United are left with limited striking options. The Wembley pitch did in our experience striker during our League Cup final win over Aston Villa, with Wayne Rooney playing over 45 minutes and picking up an injury himself. He then played 86 minutes of an England friendly three days later.
Sir Alex Ferguson has today expressed his disappointment in our striker for choosing to playing so long for England when carrying an injury.
“Playing on that pitch for almost an hour on Sunday and then almost the full 90 minutes on the Wednesday, it’s far too much,” Ferguson said. “So he’s a doubt for the Wolves game. I was disappointed more with Wayne. He didn’t come off, I couldn’t believe it, and now he’s a doubt for tomorrow. He should have signalled to the bench he wanted to come off. I don’t blame Fabio Capello at all – but don’t forget he was not supposed to be playing at all. That’s what Wayne told us on Sunday because he was feeling his knee. Then all of a sudden people put an arm round his shoulder and he wants to play. I don’t think he should have played. His own enthusiasm has caused it. He can’t say ‘No’, that’s his problem. It’s hard to quell people with that kind of enthusiasm because it’s a restless energy.”
I love that Rooney can’t get enough of the game but as the manager says, he really should have made it clear he needed to come off. We have an important league game to play this weekend, against a side desperate to prove a point after Mick McCarthy all but forfeited their away fixture against United this season, and we’re set to do so without Rooney or Owen.
If this was a World Cup qualifier, I wouldn’t agree with Rooney wanting to play for pretty much the whole game, but I would understand it. However, to risk his fitness in United’s Premiership game for the sake of playing in an England friendly is ridiculous. He needs to get his priorities straight sharpish! Disappointing behaviour from a player to who talks like he’s United through and through.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.