Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney reportedly faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines after his recovery from a knee injury suffered a setback.
The 30-year-old striker could be out of contention for a further month with the problem, which he sustained during last month’s defeat at Sunderland.
Rooney was expected to resume full training by the end of March but, according to the Mirror, medical scans have revealed that the knee has not healed as quickly as expected.
The England international’s involvement in this summer’s Euro 2016 campaign is not yet in doubt, though the national side’s medical team are continuing to monitor Rooney’s progress and remain in dialogue with his club.
Rooney may now only return for the final few weeks of United’s season, by which point Louis van Gaal’s side could be merely playing for pride.
The Dutch coach is under pressure to turn results around at Old Trafford and can point to the club’s lengthening injury list as one of the reasons behind their poor form.
As well as the club captain, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Ashley Young and Will Keane are all unavailable.
Despite their on-field struggles, there is reportedly no wish to rush Rooney back into the side before he is ready, as the club are mindful of potentially aggravating the injury and setting his recovery back further.
United take a break from league action this weekend to entertain West Ham United in the FA Cup sixth round proper at Old Trafford.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies