Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wayne Rooney is doubtful for Schalke game with hamstring injury

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirms Wayne Rooney is doubtful for Schalke game with hamstring injury. Striker could sit out Champions League semi-final but Darren Fletcher will return for the hosts after two-month absence, while boss backs Edwin van der Sar's decision to retire.

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Wayne Rooney is an injury doubt for the Champions League semi-final second leg against Schalke with a tight hamstring.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Manchester United boss confirmed that the club's medical staff will continue to monitor the England forward.

Asked whether Rooney took part in preparations for the return leg, Ferguson replied: "No, he didn't train.

"He had a tight hamstring so we left him today, but we'll see what he's like tomorrow."

Ferguson did have some good news to report as Darren Fletcher, who has not played since the 3-1 defeat at Anfield in March, will return on Wednesday night.

"Darren will play part of the game tomorrow, he is involved," Ferguson confirmed.

"He’s shown great improvement from his reserve game last week. He’s done a lot of good work, his weight is back to normal. It’s just that issue of game time and maybe more strengthening but he’s working hard and he will play part of the game tomorrow."

United are overwhelming favourites to progress to Wembley after winning the first leg 2-0, but saw their Premier League hopes take a knock at the weekend as they lost to Arsenal and saw Chelsea close the gap to the top.

However, Ferguson feels that his side are still favourites to lift the title for a record-breaking 19th time, but they still have plenty of work to do.

He continued: "We must be favourites, only because we’re three points ahead but that can evaporate quite quickly as we realised on Sunday.

"We have a big job to do yet. [We have] three games left and as I said last week the drama is not finished."

The United boss will be saying farewell to veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar come the end of the season, with the Dutchman planning to retire, and Ferguson feels the 40-year-old has made the right decision.

“If I was giving advice to Edwin van der Sar right now I would say retire," he said.

“It’s the absolute pinnacle of his career and I think sometimes when a player gets to that age all of a sudden age comes on you very suddenly and I wouldn’t want to see Edwin van der Sar in that situation.

“He has had such a fantastic career and there is no reason why he should risk another year and drop below his standard.”

The Scottish tactician also praised the work of the Dutch goalkeeper behind the scenes in the dressing room.

“If you could see him in our dressing room before games and at half-time he’s absolutely fantastic," he said.

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