Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney insists his recovery from a knee injury is on track and has targeted a return in April.
Rooney sustained ligament damage to his knee at Sunderland last month and has missed the last eight games.
Reports at the weekend suggested Rooney had suffered a setback in his recovery and the striker would not return to action until May.
Although his recovery is on course, he will still miss the vital clashes against Liverpool in the Europa League and Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League this week while also being unavailable for England’s forthcoming friendlies with Germany and Holland.
Caution has been the keyword for Rooney, but he says he is nearly there and hopes he will make his comeback after the international break in late March.
“Everything is going as planned,” he said on the club’s official website, attending an event to announce a new global sponsorship with Gulf Oil International.
“Rehab is going well but, hopefully, it won’t be too long.
“I don’t know [when I will return]. Obviously, I will miss the international games but, hopefully, it won’t be too long. It’s not too bad but obviously it’s [a case of] just being a bit cautious. It’s difficult to push back. If I tried to push it to be involved now, it could cause more damage. So, being cautious, after the international break is more realistic.
“I am hoping that, if I am back when I am expected to be back, depending on the two cups we are in, then there could be over 10 games left plus the England games.
“I was saying before it has been eight games that I have missed. I didn’t realise it was that many so it’s obviously really frustrating. Myself, the manager and the doctor felt it was best for me to get a bit of rest and that is why I went away. That will do me good in the coming weeks.”