LONDON - Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has returned to training as he recovers from a knee injury and will play for the Under-21s against Middlesbrough on Monday, said manager Louis van Gaal.
The England forward damaged his knee in February but is on course to return to first-team action in time to get fit to play at this year's European Championship in France.
United visit title-chasing Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday as they bid to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League qualifying spot. They are a point behind fourth-placed local rivals Manchester City.
The Spurs game comes too early for Rooney, who has nonetheless already shown his class in training.
"He scored a goal - he made a fantastic shot, a chip over the goalkeeper. It was his first training session," van Gaal was quoted as saying on the club website (www.manutd.com) on Friday. "He can be so good that I shall be forced to give him a position in the team but it depends on what we are seeing (each day)."
Van Gaal was reluctant to say whether the 30-year-old would play at West Ham United in Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay.
"That you can never predict because you have to see if everything is going well," the Dutchman added.
"He is now coming out of rehabilitation and has only trained two times with us, so we cannot yet predict how his injury evolved. We have to wait and see how the game against Middlesbrough goes."