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Monday, June 24, 2024

Wayne Rooney accuses Manchester United players of using injuries to avoid playing

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Wayne Rooney has accused some of Manchester United’s supposedly injured players of ducking out of games for the struggling side to save themselves for the FA Cup final or Euro 2024.

United lost 1-0 to Arsenal, their second successive defeat and 19th loss of a sorry season, and their record goalscorer and former captain Rooney believes some of their injured contingent are actually fit to feature but are saving themselves.

And he accused them of letting the club down by opting out of games, saying: “There are some very good players in that squad and the performances are way below par. You look at the injuries and some of those players could play; 100 percent.

“You have a European Championships coming up and an FA Cup final coming up. It is easy for players to stay out for a little bit and then come back towards the European Championships. I have seen it myself over the years. I just think the players who have been injured are not filling themselves with any credit at the minute.”

Manager Erik ten Hag’s injured list includes captain Bruno Fernandes, last season’s top scorer, Marcus Rashford, his four main centre-backs – in Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof – and two senior left-backs, Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia, plus Mason Mount and Anthony Martial.

United are in danger of missing out on European football if they do not win the FA Cup final and Ten Hag admitted that would cause them a lot of harm.

“It’s very damaging,” he said. “That is the situation we are in but still we can still get there. We have the opportunities, we have to take responsibility, and then you have to switch on in any occasion to get this done and fight even when the problems are massive.”

Leandro Trossard scored Arsenal’s winner at Old Trafford to leave manager Mikel Arteta saying his players had opened “a box of dreams”.

They could win the Premier League at home to Everton on Sunday if Manchester City drop points either at Tottenham on Tuesday or against West Ham next weekend.

And Arteta said: “We wanted to open that box of dreams to live the last day of the season in front of our people with the opportunity to win the Premier League. That’s something we’re going to live together and I’m so pleased we’re going to do it with these players and staff.”

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