Louis Van Gaal has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will start against Manchester City this afternoon, in the first fixture following his three match ban for kicking Stewart Downing last month.
Rooney’s suspension gave Spanish playmaker Juan Mata a big chance to feature as the main playmaker in Manchester United’s starting eleven.
However, in Rooney’s absence Mata has flattered to deceive and has not made a big enough impact, particularly against West Brom and in the second half against his former club Chelsea last Sunday.
Will Rooney's return see Spaniard drop to the bench?
The midfielder did create Angel Di Maria’s goal against Everton at the start of October. However, since then he has failed to score or assist in the league and was substituted off against West Brom and Chelsea during times when United were struggling.
Rooney meanwhile is the leading goal scorer in the history of the Manchester derby with eleven goals and his manager has confirmed that he will start during Friday’s press conference. “He shall play, he is my captain. That is all I can say to you because he is my captain and he shall play,” Van Gaal said.
Falcao injury has taken one dilemma away from LVG
The same cannot be said for Rooney’s fellow striker Radamel Falcao who has only started three times since his dramatic deadline day loan deal from Monaco was sealed. The Colombian has not recovered from the knock that forced him to miss Sunday’s game against Chelsea.
United are also still without defenders Jonny Evans and Paddy Mcnair, but winger Antonio Valencia is back in contention.
Manchester City’s David Silva is also injured and is expected to be out for at least three weeks, while midfielder Yaya Toure should be okay to play despite limping off in the midweek League Cup tie against Newcastle United.