It’s probably a good measure of how Wayne Rooney is viewed by most Manchester United fans these days that news of his return to training after injury doesn’t come as a blessed relief. In years past, the sight of the club’s captain working at the club’s Carrington base with his colleagues after a spell on the sidelines would be welcomed; these days, given that Rooney has played something of a bit-part role under Jose Mourinho, his return means that his manager has another player at his disposal as opposed to being able to select a talismanic forward.
Manutd.com have confirmed Rooney’s return to the fold by posting photos from today’s training session, and having missed all three of United’s wins over the festive period. Rooney’s return should be of some use to Mourinho, given that his team could play as many as six further games before January is over. A sixth game will depend on the result of Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie with Reading; should United win, they’ll play in the fourth round at the end of the month, three or four days after the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final with Hull City.
Whilst Rooney isn’t the driving force in United’s attack that he used to be, his presence, experience and ability is still of some use to his team, and given Mourinho’s need to rotate his players to keep them fresh and challenging on four separate fronts, his return from injury might prove to be quite useful.