Rooney could play against West Ham

Wayne Rooney

Rooney is just five goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time mark of 249 for Manchester United

Wayne Rooney could feature in Manchester United’s FA Cup replay against West Ham on Wednesday after making his return in an under-21 game.

With manager Louis van Gaal watching on, the England captain played 61 minutes for the youth team against Middlesbrough on Monday.

The striker has missed 12 games since injuring his knee in a Premier League defeat at Sunderland on 13 February.

Van Gaal said Rooney, 30, could play in the cup should he prove his fitness.

Rooney had a quiet match, his highlight in front of a 6,132 crowd being a second-half free-kick that curled over the crossbar.

Paddy McNair scored the only goal of the game moments after the forward was substituted.

United, fifth in the league and beaten 3-0 by title-chasing Tottenham on Sunday, will travel to Upton Park for a quarter-final replay which United midfielder Michael Carrick has described as “make or break”.


United boss Louis van Gaal and his assistant Ryan Giggs were at the youth team game to watch Wayne Rooney

Van Gaal said United’s defence would need to improve in order to deal with West Ham striker Andy Carroll if they are to seize their “last chance of silverware” this season.

Carroll scored a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw against Arsenal on Saturday, while United conceded three goals in six second-half minutes at Spurs.

“I’ve seen the Andy Carroll show,” said the 64-year-old Dutchman. “And I think our problem against Tottenham was also the miscommunication of our central defenders.”

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