Rooney's persuasion could earn place on the bench

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney has not been entirely ruled out of being a substitute for tonight's second leg against Bayern Munich, with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's jocular suggestion that "he might try to persuade me" keeping the door to his playing ajar last night.

Rooney did not train with the first team yesterday but he demonstrated his rapid recuperation from ankle ligament damage sustained in last week's first leg against Bayern by driving himself into Carrington. Exacerbating an injury which had left him with a "40 per cent chance" of featuring 48 hours ago, would have proved counter-productive, but the extra day's rehabilitation work which a Wednesday match brings could make the difference and if the call proves marginal, it may be difficult to resist having Rooney among the seven substitutes tonight.

"I don't think he'll be on the bench," Ferguson said. "I am not prepared to take the risk if he is not 100 per cent fit. We are looking more at the [Manchester] City game [on 17 April], or Blackburn [on Sunday] as a sub possibly."