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Saturday , 23 June 2018

Rooney in contention for Man Utd return in Europa League tie

Wayne Rooney could return to the Manchester United squad for Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht at Old Trafford.

Captain Rooney, 31, has missed four games with an ankle injury but may be on the bench as United look to progress after a 1-1 first-leg draw in Belgium.

United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Argentina keeper Sergio Romero will start ahead of David de Gea.

Phil Jones (foot), Chris Smalling (knee) and Juan Mata (groin) are out.

Rooney trained on Wednesday and Mourinho said the England forward would be named as a substitute if he came through the session “positively”.

“He is a player that can be useful and if we need a goal he can help us,” added the Portuguese.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may start after spending the first 83 minutes of Sunday’s 2-0 home win against Chelsea on the bench.

The Sweden striker, 35, was rested after admitting to feeling tired, while teenage replacement Marcus Rashford scored in an impressive display.

United are hoping to reach the Europa League final on 24 May at Stockholm’s Friends Arena – where Ibrahimovic is having a statue erected in his honour.

Ibrahimovic is yet to reveal if his initial one-year United contract will be extended in the summer.

“I don’t think about whether it would be a perfect ending for him, I just think about Manchester United,” said Mourinho.

“Winning the Europa League would be the perfect finale for us. It would be a perfect end to a difficult season, trying to build a team to recover a certain mentality, by playing in a European final.”

Winning the Europa League would guarantee a Champions League place, even if United finish outside the Premier League’s top four.


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