Wayne Rooney will have to wait to make his 500th Manchester United appearance after being ruled out of tomorrow’s Premier League clash with West Ham.
The United captain sustained an ankle problem during last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City with the injury now worse than first thought.
Despite his poor form this season, the striker’s presence up-front may be missed having netted an impressive 11 times in his 17 league matches against the Hammers.
Manager Louis van Gaal admits he does not know when his skipper will return to the side and claims he could miss United’s crucial must-win Champions League game against Wolfsburg on Wednesday.
“Wayne’s is a nasty injury,” said the Dutchman.
“When we go on, it’s been getting worse. We have to let him train to make the ankle stronger, that’s very important.
“I cannot say [how long he’ll be out] because the doctor shall decide that with Wayne of course. He is training well in the rehabilitation.”
Rooney is joined on the sidelines by Marcos Rojo who is set to miss the Christmas period after dislocating his shoulder in training this week.
The Argentine’s absence leaves the United manager without a recognised left-back for tomorrow’s game at Old Trafford with Daley Blind or Ashley Young most likely to deputise.
Given United’s growing injury list, Van Gaal admits he may have to bring players in during the January transfer window.
“We have a lot of contact injuries and also long-lasting injuries so that’s our problem.
“So we are looking [at players for January] but as you know it is not so easy to buy players and in January it is more difficult. We are looking but it is not for sure.”
United have not lost to the Irons in the league since 2007 but will need to be wary of the threat posed by Slaven Bilic’s men who have already defeated Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool this season.
A win for the Reds will see them keep the pressure on Manchester City and Leicester at the top of the table and extend their unbeaten run in the league to seven games.
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