Wayne Rooney ruled out for six weeks with knee injury
Last Updated: 18/02/16 7:55am
Wayne Rooney's knee injury will keep him out for the next six weeks, according to Sky sources.
The Manchester United captain was left behind when the rest of the squad travelled for Thursday's Europa League game at FC Midtjylland after suffering ligament damage at Sunderland on Saturday.
And while Louis van Gaal would not confirm a timeframe for Rooney's recovery at his press conference in Denmark, it is understood United will be without their top scorer until the end of March.
The United boss told MUTV: "He has a knee problem so we have to wait and see. He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that."
Pressed by reporters to put a time on Rooney's recovery, he said: "It's difficult to say, but he's injured in the game versus Sunderland and has a knee problem. We have to wait and see how long that takes. I cannot say."
A six-week absence would see Rooney miss Premier League games against Arsenal and Manchester City, among others, and a potential FA Cup quarter-final.
It would also rule him out of two full Europa League rounds and in all likelihood deprive Roy Hodgson of his skipper for England's friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands on March 26 and 29.
Rooney completed Saturday's defeat at Sunderland, and Van Gaal suggested the forward's "fantastic attitude" might have contributed to his injury.
He said: "That's also typical Wayne. He's a guy who wants to go until the end and if he is feeling pain, he doesn't want to go away, and certainly when you are drawing a match because he wants to win.
"That's a fantastic attitude but also it's bad for his body. You do not know when it happened, so that's the difficulty."
Rooney's absence is likely to give Anthony Martial a run at centre-forward, while Will Keane returned from a loan at Preston last month.
"We have in Martial another striker, he has played several matches in this role and wants to play in it, then I have called Will Keane back and he has done very well in the second team.
"Sometimes you have to show it at the higher level and maybe he'll get the chance to show it - you never know."
And the Dutchman - without Matteo Darmian (shoulder) and Marouane Fellaini (muscle problem) in Denmark - again bemoaned United's "ridiculous" injury list, saying: "Our policy was not to have a big squad as we wanted to try youngsters in our team.
"Normally we don't have 13 injured players. It's ridiculous when you analyse it - they're all contact injuries."