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Feb 17, 2009

Rooney set to return for Man Utd after injury

Wayne Rooney will return to the bench for Manchester United on Wednesday as the Red Devils look to open up a five-point lead at the Premier League summit by beating Fulham at Old Trafford.

Rooney has missed seven games since limping out of the home win over Fulham with a hamstring strain.

Sir Alex Ferguson opted to leave him out of the squad for Sunday's FA Cup trip to Derby, a decision that has proved to be a wise one.

It allowed Rooney to get an extra day's training under his belt that should ensure he plays some part against Roy Hodgson's men, even if Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov are expected to be handed the starting spots in attack.

''The plan is for Wayne Rooney to be involved tomorrow night and he will start on the bench,'' Ferguson told Key103. ''We have handled him in the right way.

''He is training now. His performances have been excellent and he is back to his best.

''The decision not to involve him on Sunday was a good one because he was able to train and that extra day has brought him on a lot.''

Rooney is likely to be joined on the bench by Ryan Giggs, who despite 788 appearances and 35 years behind him is in the form of his life, according to Ferguson.

''He is playing better than he did two or three years ago because he has added composure, control and authority to his game.

''What you are seeing is someone who has played for a long time and collected all these experiences together.

''Even at 35, Ryan is at his absolute peak as a footballer. Some players reach their peak at 28 or 29 and then fade a little bit, which is why they retire at 33 or 34. But Ryan has been at his peak for a long, long period.''

And it is not just Giggs' ability on the pitch which earmarks him as someone special. The example he sets to youngsters has also been highlighted, with Ferguson recognising his good fortune in working with such a shining example of professionalism.

''Ryan is fantastic,'' he said. ''It is not just the example he shows on the football field, it is what he does off it.

''Every player in the club is saying to themselves 'How does that guy do it?' He is the living example of looking after yourself.

''The nutritional advice that is around today, the sports science and the training methods, give players a far better opportunity of playing well into their 30s now.

''Maybe people scratch their heads in wonderment at the achievements of the lad but he shows what can be done.''

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