Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Wayne Rooney is fit to return for this weekend’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur.
The England striker missed Wednesday’s international friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley, with a throat infection also keeping him out of the Red Devils’ last two matches – against Norwich in the Premier League and Ajax in the second leg of their Europa League last 32 encounter.
However, the 26-year-old returned to training during the week, and is now ready to face Spurs at White Hart Lane.
Teammate Chris Smalling is a major doubt though, having been stretchered off for the Three Lions in the midweek 3-2 defeat after clashing heads with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Tom Cleverley and Antonio Valencia are also definitely out.
"There's no concussion but he (Smalling) has got quite a nasty cut. Whether we can patch it up, I'm not quite sure. We need to tread carefully and see what he's like tomorrow.”
There was positive news for another striker at Old Trafford, with Michael Owen returning to first team training after a lengthy period on the sidelines with a thigh problem. The game in North London comes too soon for the former England hitman though.
"Hopefully the lad will have a bit of luck. He's not had much at all. When he has an injury it always seems to be a long one. Hopefully he'll be back for the rest of the season, which will help us,” added the Scot.
Despite their 5-2 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend, Ferguson isn’t taking the challenge of Spurs lightly, and is well aware that Harry Redknapp’s side will provide a tough challenge in Sunday’s late kick-off.
"Tottenham is always a tremendous highlight for us. It's always a tremendous game given the history of both clubs. It's a very important game for us. Look at the rest of the season. You can certainly say we're building up to what could turn out to be a title decider with Manchester City,” concluded Ferguson.
"This is our hardest away game, no doubt. Hopefully we can navigate it. Harry Redknapp's added lot of players and changed things around. Kyle Walker is a tremendous full back. He has great pace going forward and there's pace on the other side from Gareth Bale, while Rafael van der Vaart has cleverness off the front.
"As for Luka Modric, everyone realises what a tremendous player he is. So it's a team full of talent and they're having a great season."