Manchester United Ready To Unleash Rooney On City

Louis van Gaal has declared Wayne Rooney fit and ready to fire Manchester United to victory in Sunday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.

For the past three games Rooney has sat in the stands wearing a glum expression as United played on without him.

But now his three-match suspension is up, Rooney has returned to the United squad – and the timing could not have been better.

With Radamel Falcao out because of an injury he sustained in training, Rooney will take centre stage up front in a fixture he loves this weekend.

Rooney has scored 11 goals in 21 Manchester derbies, so Van Gaal is delighted to have his captain back.

The United manager thought about reminding Rooney of his status as this fixture’s record scorer, but he quickly decided against it.

He is convinced his captain needs no motivation to put on a stellar show this weekend.

”I have heard that also he has scored a lot of goals against Manchester City, the most of any player,” said Van Gaal of Rooney, whose most spectacular strike against City came in February 2011 when he produced a stunning overhead kick winner.

”I said that to him to stimulate him but he doesn’t need that. I am very happy that he can play again and he shall play.”

Van Gaal dismissed the idea that he was taking a risk by fielding Rooney on Sunday.

The Dutchman laughed off claims the England captain was suffering from a foot injury. Rooney was alleged to be limping at a United sponsor’s event at Old Trafford on Monday, but Van Gaal insists that was not the case.

Van Gaal said: ”Rooney was not injured. The media was writing that but he was never injured.

”Maybe his shoes were too tight, that is possible. But he was never injured and he shall play. He is my captain.”

The news regarding Colombia striker Falcao was not so good, however.

”Falcao is still injured,” Van Gaal added.

The absence of the Colombia forward is a blow to Van Gaal, but he is fortunate to have other players coming into form at the right time.

Adnan Januzaj played superbly against Chelsea last weekend and Robin van Persie will take confidence from bagging the injury-time goal which handed United a vital point against the league leaders.

United appear to be on the up but the same cannot be said for their ‘noisy neighbours’ five miles across town.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team stretched their winless streak to three matches on Wednesday when they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Newcastle.

And you get the impression Van Gaal thinks City, who are four points above United in the table, are there for the taking.

”It is not the greatest moment of Manchester City,” he added. ”What we have seen of Manchester City in the last matches was not so good.

”We have a good feeling about this match.”

Tensions have run high in the build-up to the clash but Van Gaal insists his players must not be overcome by emotion on Sunday afternoon.

He added: ”We don’t have to accelerate this feeling because it is football and you have to play the game, not only a game with emotion but also in a tactical way.

”For me, I have to analyse and prepare for the games in the same manner (as the other matches).”

Having held top posts across Europe, Van Gaal has plenty of experience of crunch matches like Barcelona-Real Madrid and Ajax-Feyenoord.

But he says this will be the biggest local derby he has been involved in.

To get an idea what the match means to United fans, Ryan Giggs was chosen to give a presentation on the derby to the manager and his squad, which contains five summer signings who have never experienced a Manchester derby before.

“It is one of the 38 matches we have to play but, for the fans, it is unbelievably big as a rivalry,” Van Gaal said.

“I have felt that, also with a lot of the players in the squad but especially with Ryan Giggs.

”Ryan Giggs presented the analysis of Manchester City, and I felt more tension (about the derby) with him. It was good to see that.

”He knows it, he has the experience as a player and now maybe as an assistant manager.”

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.