David Moyes has confirmed that he will be unable to call upon Wayne Rooney as Manchester United begin their FA Cup campaign with a third round matchup against Swansea City on Sunday. Rooney is still suffering from a groin injury despite being deployed for the full 90 minutes of his side’s defeat to Tottenham on New Year’s Day.
“He’s got a groin injury and won’t be available on Sunday,” Moyes said, before declaring that he had “a chance” of being fit to take on Sunderland in the first leg of United’s Capital One Cup semifinal against Sunderland on Tuesday.
Rooney joins Robin van Persie on the sidelines, while Ashley Young has become the latest absentee following Hugo Lloris’ challenge on him on Wednesday that controversially failed to lead to a penalty being awarded. Meanwhile, Nani will be absent for some time with what Moyes described as a “serious hamstring injury,” and Rafael also remains out.
Moyes has stressed that the FA Cup is important to him but that circumstances dictate that he will have to rotate his lineup for the visit of Swansea to Old Trafford. Following a busy festive schedule of Premier League action and with the clash with Sunderland upcoming, Moyes says that he has no choice but to tinker with his team selections.
“We definitely will [rotate players] because of the two games,” he explained, according to Manchester United’s official website.
“It’s the same for both clubs so there can’t be many complaints but I don't think it's right to be asking footballers to play on Sunday and then Tuesday. They did it over Christmas and I totally understand that and the reasons why. But it’s a bit harder to accept at such short notice here."
While Manchester United come into Sunday’s contest at Old Trafford on a low, the same is certainly true of their opponents. Swansea have failed to win any of their last seven matches in all competitions and have slipped to 13th in the Premier League, worryingly just four points above the relegation zone. Injury problems have played their part, with Michu, Nathan Dyer and goalkeeper Michel Vorm all again set to be missing against United. Spanish winger Pablo Hernandez is also a major doubt. Like Moyes, Swansea coach Michael Laudrup explained that he will be looking to rotate his side.
“Yes, we may make changes, especially now because we have 18 players -- some of which have played a lot of games,” he said, according to Swansea’s official website. “But just because we make changes, doesn’t mean we don’t care about the competition. I think I already proved that last year.”
Still, Laudrup has shown that he is capable of a good cup run, having led Swansea to League Cup glory in his first season in charge last term. And there were some encouraging signs in a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City on New Year’s Day, notably with big summer signing Wilfried Bony scoring twice.
Where to watch: The FA Cup third round match will kick off at 11.30 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 1, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.