Rooney sidelined for up to three weeks in blow for title-chasing United boss Ferguson
18:36 GMT, 26 December 2012
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will be sidelined for between two and three weeks after sustaining knee ligament damage in training.
The England forward was missing from the line up for the Red Devils' 4-3 victory over Newcastle today.
After his poor performance against Swansea on Sunday, Ferguson would have loved the hitman to come out swinging against Newcastle, but could not select him due to injury.
Sidelined: An injured Wayne Rooney watched on from an executive box at Old Trafford as United won 4-3
Will United miss Rooney
Opta statistics from the last two seasons of Premier League football indicate that Javier Hernandez will be able to step up to the mark in Rooney's absence.
Although he has scored under half the number of goals, his minutes per goal average is close to Rooney's.
This is because he has only started 22 games – exactly half of the number Rooney has.
Min per goal
'After his performance on Sunday I
think he would have been brilliant today. You don't have two
performances like he did on Sunday,' said Ferguson. 'Unfortunately we couldn't risk him.'
He continued: 'It was a volley towards the end of training. He did a ligament at the back of his knee and could be out for two to three weeks.'
Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez stepped up to the mark in Rooney's absence, both scoring as United managed to grab three points from a topsy-turvy game.
Danny Welbeck also missed the game after reporting an illness last night.
Rooney had performed fitfully this season – some of his better performances have actually come in central midfield rather than in his favoured striker's position.
Lethal: Javier Hernandez wheels away after scoring the final goal of the thriller against Newcastle
Rooney will miss Premier League
matches against West Brom and Wigan, in addition to the FA Cup third
round tie at West Ham on January 5.
He also faces a race against time to face Liverpool at Old Trafford on January 13.
Ferguson continued: 'Danny Welbeck took ill in the team hotel last night.
'Ashley Young also got injured yesterday and Phil Jones got injured against Swansea.'
Tucked away: Robin van Persie has been at his imperious best for the last two seasons now
Skipper Nemanja Vidic was back on the bench today but Ferguson did not want to use him after the centre-back made his first start since September at the Liberty Stadium.
'We couldn't risk Vida after playing his first game,' said Ferguson.
'He had a bit of soreness in his knee, which is only to be expected after being out for so long.'