Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed that club captain Wayne Rooney would not return to action when the international break comes around at the end of March. England play two friendly matches in the last week of March against Germany at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on 26 March and against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium on 29 March.
Rooney had injured his knee before United started their Europa League campaign and it first came to light when he did not travel with the Red Devils squad to Denmark when they took on FC Midtjylland. The initial prognosis was that he would be out of action for six to eight weeks.
When asked if the 30-year-old striker would be fit for England’s friendlies, Van Gaal confirmed he would miss them and also stated that England wasn’t his priority right now.
“No, he won't be ready for England next month,” Van Gaal said.
“He has to be ready for us, not for the English team.”
The injury and eventual comeback will now give the Three Lions captain just over a month to prove his fitness before England manager Roy Hodgson names his squad for Euro 2016 set to take place in France this summer.
This is not the first time Rooney has been injured before a major tournament. He had suffered a metatarsal injury before the 2006 World Cup in a game against Chelsea but eventually regained his fitness in time for the quadrennial event.
Rooney currently wearing a brace: Van Gaal
Van Gaal also explained that Rooney was currently wearing a brace which he would wear at least until the second week of March.
“He has a brace now and he has to wear it for two-and-a-half weeks, and then we have to look again,” the Dutch boss explained. “So I cannot say anything about that now.
“For now, he is resting because of the brace.”
Rooney’s last game was against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on 13 February, a match the Black Cats won 2-1. Since then, the Manchester club have played three games – two in the Europa League and one in the FA Cup.
The club’s second-highest goalscorer will be a huge miss when United take on old foes Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday and Rooney is expected to watch from the stands.
He will also miss the Europa League Round of 16 tie with arch-rivals Liverpool with both the legs set to take place on 10 and 17 March. It is the first time the two clubs will meet on the European stage and Van Gaal's side will be without the services of their captain.Published 28 Feb 2016, 14:36 IST