Louis van Gaal does not regret only signing one striker in the summer as Wayne Rooney’s injury allows him to try more Manchester United youngsters.
United announced on Wednesday morning that Rooney was not a part of their squad for Thursday’s Europa League last-32 first leg at FC Midtjylland.
Van Gaal subsequently confirmed that Rooney had sustained a knee injury in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Sunderland, though he refused to put a timeframe on the England striker’s expected absence.
Rooney completed the full duration of the Sunderland match, and Van Gaal said: “That’s typical Wayne.
“He’s a guy who wants to go until the end – if he’s feeling pain he doesn’t want to go off. He wants to win.
“That’s a fantastic attitude, but sometimes it’s also bad for his body.
“But you cannot say (if he made the injury worse by staying on) because he didn’t know when (exactly) it happened. That’s the difficulty.”
Rooney, with 14 goals in all competitions, is United’s top scorer this season and has netted seven times in his last nine matches.
The United squad – also shorn in the last few days of the services of defenders Matteo Darmian (shoulder) and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (illness) and midfielder Marouane Fellaini (muscle injury) – now looks severely limited in terms of out-and-out striker options.
But when asked on Wednesday if he had any regrets about not signing any strikers beyond Anthony Martial or hanging on to ones he had let go like Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez, Van Gaal insisted he did not.
The 64-year-old said: “Our policy is that we didn’t want a big squad, because otherwise you can’t try youngsters in your team. And normally you don’t have so many injuries.”
While making reference to the options he does have available up front – primarily Martial – Van Gaal did mention Will Keane, the 23-year-old striker who recently scored five times in a United Under-21 game.
Keane is among several inexperienced player included in the squad for the Midtjylland fixture, along with Donald Love, Regan Poole, Joe Riley and James Weir.