Horror gash Wayne Rooney starts for Manchester United as David Moyes leaves £27.5m signing Marouane Fellaini on the bench
Wayne Rooney is in Manchester United's starting line-up to face Crystal Palace this afternoon after he was deemed fit to return from the nasty head injury that he suffered almost three weeks ago.
Rooney was involved in a training ground collision with team-mate Phil Jones that left the England forward with a sickening gash on his forehead, which required 10 stitches to close-up.
The injury forced him out of England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine adding to the striker crisis that faced manager Roy Hodgson, with both Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll also ruled out with injury, while Danny Welbeck was suspended for the goalless draw in Kiev after picking up a yellow card in the 4-0 victory over Moldova at Wembley.
There were fears that Rooney’s participation in next week’s Manchester derby was at risk due to the injury, but Moyes said yesterday that he couldn’t put a time scale on his return, claiming that they would need to assess the level of risk in playing the 27-year-old.
"He is in great physical shape," Moyes said in a pre-match press conference yesterday.
"Obviously he has a cut right in the middle of his forehead which could split because the skin is very thin.
"But he has had his stitches out and it has knitted.
"We just have to see where the level of risk is with his injury."
Moyes could only name £27.5m new-boy Marouane Fellaini on the bench, having secured his deadline day transfer in the final hour of the summer window.
The United boss admitted that the club paid more than they had to for the Belgian because they also wanted to sign Leighton Baines from his former club, Everton.
We had chosen to do it the way we did because we wanted to try and get Leighton Baines and we didn't want to give up on that until the last minute," Moyes said.
"We felt the best way to do that was to try and keep the two deals together. Only at the last minute did we split them.
"They talk about the great Belgium team but every time I go to see Belgium, I always come away thinking Marouane is the best player."
And once again, there was no space in the 18-man squad for Japan international Shinji Kagawa, who is yet to feature in the Premier League under Moyes, having made a second-half cameo appearance in the season-opening Community Shield match against Wigan at Wembley.
Moyes claimed that his failure to select the 24-year-old has nothing to do with his ability, but rather the attacking midfielder’s participation in this summer’s Confederations Cup as well as travelling to and from Japan to play for his country.
Meanwhile, Adrian Mariappa is the only deadline day signing for Palace in the starting line-up, although both Barry Bannan and Cameron Jerome are on the bench.
Manchester United: David De Gea, Fabio Da Silva, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Anderson, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie.
Subs: Jonny Evans, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley, Wilfried Zaha, Marouane Fellaini, Ben Amos, Adnan Januzaj.
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Adrian Mariappa, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney, Dean Moxey, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Mile Jedinak, Jose Campana, Jason Puncheon, Marouane Chamakh, Dwight Gayle.
Subs: Kevin Phillips, Stuart O'Keefe, Jimmy Kebe, Neil Alexander, Cameron Jerome, Barry Bannan, Adlene Guedioura.