Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney is unlikely to feature against Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League at Old Trafford tonight after Jose Mourinho confirmed that the forward is struggling with a back problem.
Rooney was left out of the starting eleven by the Portuguese during United’s 4-1 victory over Leicester City last Saturday and it was widely anticipated that the forward would be recalled back into the starting eleven by the new United boss for tonight’s clash.
However speaking during his pre-match news conference Mourinho admitted that he is unsure on whether he will play his captain against Zorya and stated that he wants to protect his skipper.
United go into the game currently sitting bottom of group A having suffering a 1-0 defeat to Eredivisie leaders Feyenoord in Rotterdam last time out and Mourinho will no doubt be hoping that his side can get claim their first three points of the group against Zoyra when his side take to the field against the Ukrainian outfit at the Old Trafford tonight.
It has been no secret that Rooney has endured a disappointing start to the new campaign. His lack of creativity combined with his poor all round game has led Mourinho to remove his skipper from the starting eleven.
Tonight was a game Wayne Rooney so desperately needed. In playing against Zorya it would have provided the forward a real opportunity to grab a few goals and in doing so silence the critics. There would have no doubt been plenty of space on the pitch left by the Ukrainian side for Rooney to really do some damage and in missing the game it will only hempen the forwards chances further of getting himself back into the starting eleven.
With Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera all battling for a place in the number ten role Rooney will undoubtedly face a massive challenge to win back a place back in Mourinho’s starting eleven. Tonight was a real opportunity for Rooney to really get his season going, a game which he could have used to act as a springboard for him for the rest of the season but ultimately it’s an opportunity that looks likely to pass him by.