Wayne Rooney was a notable absentee for Manchester United’s main group session during training ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
As required by UEFA, United opened the doors of their Carrington training complex for the first 15 minutes of their pre-match session and Rooney, in the spotlight following his reaction to scoring a hat-trick at West Ham on Saturday, did not appear.
There was no official word from the Red Devils as to the reason for the 25-year-old England striker’s absence and it was still expected that he will play in Wednesday’s first leg clash in London.
However, beyond question is the fact that all eyes will be on Rooney when the striker does eventually appear after he was charged with using abusive language at Upton Park, which brings the potential for a two-match ban.
United must decide by Tuesday evening whether to contest the charge which, as it presently stands, would rule Rooney out of Saturday’s Premier League game with Fulham and the following weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley.
There was good news for United though as long-term absentees Rio Ferdinand and Anderson both trained, raising the likelihood that they will be involved at Chelsea as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men look to gain a positive result that would leave them well placed to secure a semi-final encounter with either Inter Milan or Schalke in next Tuesday’s second leg.