Hello, reader. If you’re reading this, and you can do a decent job in midfield, please report to Old Trafford as soon as possible. Manchester United needs your help. Marouane Fellaini got himself stupidly suspended, Timothy Fosu-Mensah dislocated his shoulder, and Paul Pogba remains injured. As such, the only warm bodies available are Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick, the latter of whom is in no shape to be playing twice in four days, particularly if he is to be called upon next Thursday as well.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Assuming that we can’t tempt Paul Scholes out of retirement again (Has any tried his mobile?), United are down to the bare bones in the middle of the park. Enter club
mascot captain Wayne Rooney.
Rooney made his first start in months away at Burnley last weekend, and played reasonably well, by the sadly diminished standards to which we now hold him. Even though Mourinho made it perfectly clear that he would not be indulging Rooney in his wish to be transformed into a midfielder, the manager hinted that he may have no choice but to play Wazza there on Sunday.
“Yes, he’s an option. We don’t have [any other players there]. We have Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick and nothing else.”
With Marcus Rashford looking labored in the second half against Manchester City, there’s a good chance that Rooney will be needed in attack as well.
The defense is just as paper-thin. Mourinho continues to needle and publicly challenge the mentality of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling for not speeding up their respective recoveries, but as of now, neither is expected to be involved tomorrow. It would be a surprise if Luke Shaw wasn’t given a run out on Sunday, especially with both Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young available to rotate for Antonio Valencia on the opposite flank. At center back, however, Eric Bailly is the only fit senior back, and the sensible thing to do would be to hold him out for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final. If so, expect Daley Blind to partner Axel Tuanzebe in the youngster’s full debut. Mourinho even joked (?) that he may suit up himself.
“In this moment he [Bailly] is the only option we have. It’s Axel, Eric and Daley [Blind]. I think Eric and Daley they played again absolutely amazingly against City. I have to speak with them and see how they are, see how they feel.
I’m also training hard in the gym so I can also be an option. Mourinho and Tuanzebe against Swansea.”
We know he’s only joking, but let’s not rule anything out. We’re desperate here.