Rooney return a United blessing

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Football News

Amidst the excitement surrounding England's friendly against the Dutch tonight, Wayne Rooney's return to full training at Manchester United could easily have gone under the radar.

Whilst the England striker has been out of action with a seemingly minor problem, his significance to the club's Premier League title challenge placed an increased spotlight on the throat infection.

"Hi everyone, as you are all probably aware I have not been too well recently due to a throat infection but delighted to say I am back training and happy to be back around the lads," Rooney wrote on his facebook page Wednesday.

Before the problem, Rooney's form was stunning. He helped inspire the comeback at Chelsea with two penalties in the 3-3 draw, although his all-round performance was just as important as the goals.

And then, against Liverpool at Old Trafford, he added a match-winning double to take the headlines away from Luis Suarez's non-handshake with Red Devils captain Patrice Evra.

After playing 90 minutes in the 2-0 win at Ajax almost a fortnight ago, Rooney has been sidelined with his throat issues, and how Sir Alex Ferguson's side have struggled without him.

The 2-1 defeat to their Eredivisie rivals in the second-leg of the Europa League last 32 clash could be put down to other factors, most notably an inexperienced defence who struggled against some of the Dutch league's finest attackers.

But, the win against Norwich on Sunday was the biggest sign that Rooney is much needed in United's attack as Ryan Giggs rode to the rescue of his club in the 90th minute.

True, the Canaries have defied the critics this season, and are closing in on safety in the top flight, their target at the start of the campaign. But United know they need to be beating such sides to be in with a shout of winning the crown in May.

That they did win is credit to the resilience Ferguson manages to instill in his side, with golden oldies Paul Scholes and Giggs scoring the vital goals.

However, Danny Welbeck's raw ability was on full display at Carrow Road, snatching at a couple of late chances which could have potentially cost United.

Last season's Sunderland loanee has shown his qualities on a number of occasions over the past 18 months, but when it comes to the big occasion, you want Rooney in the fold.

With 17 goals in 22 games, the former Everton striker is on track for one of his best ever seasons in-front of goal, and Ferguson will be under no illusions that his fitness will be imperative to the club's challenge for silverware.

It was a no-brainer to take the 26-year-old out of Stuart Pearce's England squad for tonight's clash against the Netherlands. Were his throat to flare-up on international duty, or anything else happen to the striker, his Scottish boss would have been fuming.

That said, most domestic managers will be thinking the same about their top players who are set to take part in international matches this evening.

Against Tottenham, United will need to fire on all cylinders against one of the surprise packages in the top flight this season. Whilst their challenge for the title faltered with the defeat at Arsenal on Sunday, they would be back in the mix with a win at White Hart Lane this Sunday.

Harry Redknapp's side also need to secure a Champions League finish, and know that both the Gunners and Chelsea won't allow several slip-ups during the run-in.

So, to be at their best, Rooney has to lead the line. And, with today's comments, it seems the Old Trafford faithful will get their wish.

The title race is well-and-truly back on.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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