Manchester United have confirmed striker Wayne Rooney will fly home from the club’s Far East tour after being ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury.
Rooney suffered the injury in training yesterday and scans have revealed the full extent of the damage.
“Following a scan this evening on a hamstring injury sustained in training, it has been decided Wayne Rooney should return home immediately for further assessment and rehabilitation,” the club said in a statement. The injury robs United of one of their most recognisable faces – with Robin van Persie not linking up with his team-mates until they reach Sydney – and the man who is more in demand for personal appearances than anyone else.
Yet it is bound to trigger conspiracy theories, given it comes against the backdrop of uncertainty over his United future.
Manager David Moyes repeated yesterday that Rooney is not for sale and that the 27-year-old would not be going anywhere.
However, there has still been no word from the player about his intentions, even though there has been plenty of opportunity to silence the rumour mill should he so wish. Chelsea are said to be interested in purchasing Rooney and, ironically, Jose Mourinho and his players are also due in Bangkok tomorrow as they continue preparations for the new campaign.
Arsenal have also been linked with the forward, as have Paris St Germain.
The issue is not quite so straightforward from United’s side either.
Rooney currently has two years remaining on his contract and is, therefore, at a point when negotiations over an extension would normally begin.
It is difficult to see them wanting to commit to another £250,000-a-week deal though, given Rooney’s reduced status, and the Red Devils would be sanctioning a significant reduction in a potential transfer fee should they allow the contract to run down beyond its present level.
There is also the thorny issue of Sir Alex Ferguson’s declaration last season that Rooney had demanded a transfer, something the player has privately denied.
It lends an air of uncertainty over United’s tour, with Moyes due to speak tomorrow ahead of his side’s opening game against the Singha All Stars on Saturday.