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23rd Apr 2017

Jose Mourinho reinstates Wayne Rooney as he comes to terms with injury crisis

Had to do some tinkering

Darragh Murphy

He’s back!

For just the second time in 2017, Wayne Rooney has made Jose Mourinho’s starting XI in the Premier League as the Manchester United manager has been forced to tinker with his stretched side amid something of an injury crisis.

Mourinho is without Zlatan Ibrahimovic for United’s trip to Burnley this afternoon, after the centre-forward’s season was cut short with a knee injury picked up in Thursday night’s extra-time victory over Anderlecht in their Europa League quarter-final second leg clash.

At the back, a similar fate befell centre-half Marcos Rojo on Thursday and with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones already sidelined with injuries, more responsibility than ever sits on Eric Bailly’s shoulders.

Mourinho named Daley Blind as Bailly’s centre-back partner for today’s Premier League meeting at Turf Moor.

“We are in trouble,” Mourinho admitted on Thursday. “We are in trouble. In this moment, Eric Bailly played six matches in a row, 540 minutes in a row, we’ve lost Marcos Rojo, we don’t have Jones, we don’t have Smalling, we are in trouble.

“And now we lose Zlatan, too, but in attack we have options and Rooney is coming and let’s see if Mata can also return before the end of the season, let’s see what happens.”

Antonio Valencia did not make Sunday’s squad while Luke Shaw, who played 120 minutes just four days ago, can only make the bench meaning that Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young fill the full-back slots.

Youngsters Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are named on the bench.