Although the initial prognosis on Rooney’s injury – a badly gashed thigh
But having dropped Rooney to the substitutes’ bench for the game against
Fulham, choosing instead to deploy £22 million new signing Robin van Persie
as United’s lone striker, Ferguson has conceded that the
“I think this [injury] may be a blessing,” Ferguson said. “The fact it’s a gash, not a ligament or muscle injury, means he can do a lot of work in the gymnasium. He will be able to do gym work – he was in the gym yesterday actually – and we will continue that. The minute he starts running, that will also involve the football side of it too.”
While admitting Rooney’s fitness levels were not as high as those of his
team-mates, Ferguson also hinted at a new, deeper role for the player by
comparing his fitness levels to
“He wasn’t as fit [as the other players].” Ferguson said. “He said himself he needs a few games and I wanted to play Van Persie at the start at Old Trafford against Fulham.
“I knew he wasn’t 100 per cent fit either and I would rather have taken him off with 20 minutes to go, but I couldn’t really start the two of them and I wanted to start with Van Persie.
“Wayne is behind the rest. He’s not as advanced as [Shinji] Kagawa or the other midfield players.” Although Rooney, who returned to pre-season in the final week of July, appeared in friendlies against Valerenga, Barcelona and Hannover, Ferguson insists he did not rack up enough game time before the start of the season.
He said: “Pre-season is about making sure you’ve got enough games before you start the season. That’s why most teams have six or seven games pre-season.”
Ferguson will also be without winger Ashley Young for Sunday’s trip to
“It was nice of the FA to let everyone know that Ashley Young is injured.” Ferguson said. “We have a game on Sunday — why should they alert our opponents about who is fit and who is not fit? It won’t happen again. He will be ready for a couple of weeks’ time.”
Ferguson has confirmed that midfielder Darren Fletcher is being considered for