Wayne Rooney will be involved in the matchday squad as Manchester United look to keep their FA Cup hopes alive when they travel to London to face West Ham in an FA Cup quarterfinal replay. Rooney has been absent since February with a knee injury.
The club skipper returned to action in an U-21 game for Manchester United Monday, playing 60 minutes of the 1-0 win over Middlesbrough. Louis Van Gaal will name Rooney in the squad to face West Ham, according to the Guardian, after the England international showed no adverse reaction to the run-out against Middlesbrough.
Another player who featured in the U-21 game – Phil Jones – is also in contention for a place in the squad, while the fullback Timothy Fosu-Mensah will be given a late fitness test, after the youngster was forced off the pitch in the 3-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham Sunday.
Rooney, and his possible inclusion, though will be the talking point going into this game, particularly after Van Gaal played Ashley Young in the centre-forward position in the second half of the loss to Spurs. Van Gaal has made some strange decisions during his two years at United, but that, might just well have been the strangest one of them all, particularly when Anthony Martial was already on the pitch, playing down the left.
The Dutchman's insistence on playing Jesse Lingard as a No.10 has also raised a few eyebrows, with Juan Mata shunted to the right. Surely swapping the two players around will make Manchester United a much better outfit going forward.
While one striker looks like returning to the Manchester United team, West Ham will be without one of theirs, with Diafra Sakho ruled out of the FA Cup quarterfinal replay at Upton Park – the last ever cup tie at the ground – with a knee injury. Manager Slaven Bilic has insisted it is an injury and not a falling out with the striker that has led to him being left out of the squad.
"The situation with Diafra is very simple," Bilic was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. "He reported an injury after training on Friday. He was not in the squad. He had a scan, which showed a little bit of a problem and he will be out for one week."
With Sakho on the sidelines, it should mean another start for Andy Carroll, who scored a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw against Arsenal Saturday. West Ham will welcome experienced defender James Collins back from a hamstring problem, but Sam Byram is cup tied.
Likely starting XI: West Ham: Randolph; Tomkins, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble; Antonio, Payet, Lanzini; Carroll.
Manchester United: De Gea; Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Mata, Fellaini, Martial; Rashford.