Rooney and Van Persie left at home for Turkey trip


Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have been left in Manchester and will not play in tonight's game in Istanbul. The two strikers have arguably been United's most important players this season but, having won all four games so far, the club have already confirmed not just qualification but also that they will win Group H.

So, Sir Alex Ferguson has not taken Rooney, Van Persie, goalkeeper David De Gea or veterans Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes. The result is a notably young 21-man squad, giving Ferguson the chance to give some of his junior players the taste of a unique foreign atmosphere.

Javier Hernandez is likely to partner Danny Welbeck up front. First-team midfielders Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Anderson and Ashley Young have travelled. There may also be opportunities for 19-year-old Ryan Tunnicliffe or 18-year-old Nick Powell, signed from Crewe.

Phil Jones, who has not played all season, may return in defence alongside Rafael, Alexander Buttner and Scott Wootton. With no De Gea, Anders Lindegaard should continue in goal.