Wayne Rooney travels to United States to recover

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The Independent Football

Manchester United are sending Wayne Rooney for a week's conditioning work in the United States in a bid to ensure he is fully fit for a first-team comeback.

Rooney is presently sidelined by an ankle injury and manager Sir Alex Ferguson does not expect his star striker to be back in action for another three weeks.

But rather than use the state-of-the-art facilities at their Carrington training base, United have opted to use Nike's centre in Oregon, as much in a bid to get Rooney away from the constant headlines, which have dogged him since first news of his unhappiness at Old Trafford was raised nearly three weeks ago.

"What we are intending to do with Wayne is send him to Nike Town in the USA for a week's conditioning training," confirmed United assistant-manager Mike Phelan.

"We have decided, with Wayne, the medical team and the coaching staff that it would be the best thing for him.

"He is going on Saturday and will return the following Saturday.

"It is a week's intensive conditioning, under the supervision of our medical team and our sports' science department."

Phelan did raise the possibility that Rooney could be back for the home encounter with Wigan on November 21, although there is little doubt United believe the chance of working away from the glare of publicity will aid Rooney's recovery programme.

"We have the facilities," he conceded.

"We just thought it might be in the interests of him and the club to have a change of scenery for a little while.

"He has had a lot of attention lately and we want to give him the best opportunity that he possibly can to be in good shape when he returns.

"He needs the conditioning. We all agree with that. He can go there without the attention he would get around here.

"If that goes according to plan, he will be available when he returns."

Aside from Rooney, for once the weekly medical bulletin was led by information on the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

United officials confirmed the Scot would be absent from his weekly press briefing earlier this morning.

It was left to Phelan to confirm Ferguson had been struck down by the same virus which prevented four members of his squad travelling to Turkey for the Champions League win over Bursaspor and keeps Darron Gibson out of tomorrow's Premier League encounter with Wolves.

"The manager has been ill since coming back from Turkey," said Phelan.

"He came down with a virus yesterday. He felt a little bit like that on the flight coming back.

"Yesterday he felt worse, so we have kept him away from the club for a little while.

"It is related to the virus that has been going around.

"It is one of those things that gets hold of you and is hard to shake off but he will be at the game tomorrow."

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