England striker Wayne Rooney has been ruled out of Manchester United's clash with the A-League All-Stars in Sydney after suffering a hamstring injury.
In a blow for the sold-out match at ANZ Stadium on Saturday week, major drawcard Rooney damaged his hamstring at training in Bangkok on Thursday and was returning home from United's tour of Asia and Australia after being sidelined for a month.
Rooney's injury setback came just a day after new manager David Moyes revealed club staff had told him the forward had returned for pre-season training in his best shape for years.
Manchester United arrive in Sydney on Sunday and will spend the week in camp in pre-season training before playing an AllStars side lacking in glamour due to the unavailability of imports Alessandro del Piero, Shinji Ono and Emile Heskey plus players to be named in the Socceroos squad for the East Asia Cup.
Man United skipper Nemanja Vidic did not fly to Asia due to nerve pain in his back and the club has said only that he "may" join the tour at a later date.
Superstar striker Robin van Persie is also yet to link up with the tour squad after being granted an extended summer break but he is expected to play in Sydney.
The 27-year-old Rooney now faces a race against time to recover for the start of United's Premier League title defence.
United are due to compete in the Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley on August 11 and then travel to Swansea for their league opener on August 17.
In between those two fixtures, England manager Roy Hodgson would have hoped to have Rooney available for a high-profile friendly against Scotland at Wembley on August 14.
His injury is the first significant setback for Moyes and came just hours after the champions landed in Bangkok on Thursday morning.
The United boss had hoped to use the tour to cement his relationship with Rooney, who worked with Moyes at Everton but has reportedly been considering making a formal transfer request following his spell out of favour during Alex Ferguson's final season in charge at Old Trafford.
Moyes has made it clear that Rooney is not for sale but there has still been no word from the player about his intentions.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Paris Saint Germain are all said to be interested in Rooney, who has two years remaining on his STG250,000 ($A410,000)-a-week contract and is at a point when negotiations over an extension would normally begin.
There is also the thorny issue of Ferguson's declaration last season that Rooney had indeed demanded a transfer, something the player has privately denied.