Manchester United manager David Moyes has defended his decision to start Wayne Rooney in the 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Rooney wasn't expect to play any part at all, let alone start,following a three-inch gash to his forehead that he suffered in a training collision with Phil Jones - an injury that kept him out of both of England's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.
However, the striker played the whole 90 minutes for United and he bagged the important second goal with a well-struck free-kick.
Moyes admitted it was a "difficult decision" to start the 27-year old but he feels it will benefit the player as he looks to regain full match fitness.
"We were going to see how he felt with it, but until Friday we hadn't even got it [the protective headband]," he is quoted by the Daily Telegraph.
"In my mind he's been training great, so I felt that if he could wear it then we would try and get him out [for Saturday's game].
"Because of his lack of match practice, I felt if I could get him 90 minutes it would go a long way towards the overall goal of getting him match sharpness and fitness."
Rooney is expected to play a key part in the club's hopes of retaining their Premier League crown, and although he still looked off the pace at times, he once again demonstrated good link-up play with fellow striker Robin van Persie.
"He looks fine," Moyes said in his post-match interview.
"He went for a couple of headers with it. It looked as if he didn't feel any problems protecting it, but I'm sure as we've all seen it is a really bad cut he had."
Rooney could feature again for the Red Devils when they host Bayer Leverkusen in their Champions League Group A opener at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
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