Wayne Rooney: I'm on way back for a Manchester United silver lining
Injury-hit Wayne Rooney has given his beleaguered Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, and the club's despairing fans, a boost with the news he will be back next month to, hopefully, spearhead a push to save their season with trophy success.
But first, United must overturn a 2-0 deficit against fired up rivals Liverpool in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday night at Old Trafford. Or failing that, as seems likely on current form, they will be required to negotiate a tricky FA quarter-final replay win at West Ham to set up a Wembley semi-final against Rooney's old club Everton on the weekend of April 23-24.
Rooney gave his struggling team-mates an incentive by insisting he would be back by then as he dispelled fears that a knee ligament injury could rule him out for the remainder of the season and England's Euro 2016 Finals campaign in France this summer.
The striker faces another three to four weeks on the sidelines with the injury that has forced him to miss the club's last eight games. But speaking at the launch of United's new global partnership with Gulf Oil International, Rooney insisted he will be back to lead the line in April.
"It is going as planned, so, hopefully, it won't be too long now," Rooney said. "It has been frustrating. I've missed games in the Europa League and the FA Cup, but there could be a huge chance in that now.
"If I try and push and be involved now it could cause more damage. So we are being cautious. I am hoping if I am back when I am expected to be back, depending on the two cups we are still in, then there could be 10 games left for United plus the England games, so I don't think that Euro 2016 would be a worry.
"The manager, myself and the doctor thought it was better that I went away. But I have tried to be involved with United and I have spoken to the players a lot. I know it is not the same as being out there on the pitch and being involved on match day and having an influence, but I have tried to help out."