Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain Rooney Ready to Take Derby by Storm

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain Rooney Ready to Take Derby by Storm

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Hirst

LOUIS van Gaal has declared Wayne Rooney fit and ready to fire Manchester United to victory in tomorrow's derby at the Etihad Stadium.

For the past three games Rooney has sat in the stands wearing a glum expression as the Red Devils played on without him. But now his threematch 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 tomorrow.

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. …

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