In Oliver Stone’s American Football film Any Given Sunday, the owner for the fictitious Miami Sharks side is having a discussion with unscrupulous team doctor about the fitness of ageing star quarterback Jack ‘Cap’ Rooney played by Dennis Quaid. Despite it being feared he would be out for the season with a serious injury ‘Cap’ Rooney has managed to get himself fit for the upcoming play-off game.
Diaz instructs Woods to tell the coach that ‘Cap’ isn’t fit enough as she wants to see his star understudy Willie Beamen play.
An extremely similar scenario is playing itself out at Old Trafford- not with dodgy deals between owner and physios, but a dimenma facing the selection of a star player returning for injury for a pivotal game.
This Sunday could prove seminal as if United beat Liverpool -applying more pressure to City who then face Arsenal at the Emirates, there’s a chance by the end of the day the lead at the top could be eight or even ten points. Sunday has the potential to be one of those days we look back on at the end of the season. Should the almost unthinkable happen and United lose, then that could give City a ‘massive’ boost ahead of their game and before we know it the lead is a less final four points. Title race blown wide open and maybe even the edge given to the Blue half of Manchester as United feel the pressure.
Tomorrow’s game isn’t one for taking risks as United have a far better squad than Liverpool hence the 21 point gap between the two sides. United have more than enough quality to beat Liverpool without Wayne Rooney in the squad.
Only last month Sir Alex said of Rooney : “When he is interrupted in a run of games it takes him three games to get back.”
Rooney has been back in training this week and while a start tomorrow looks highly unlikely, an appearance from the bench does seem a distinct possibility. Personally I’d be reluctant to even use Rooney in a substitute role, as it could be counter-productive. Rooney is sometimes too eager for his own good and his touch is often a little off when he’s retrurning from a lay off. My own choice would be to have Danny Welbeck start with Robin Van Persie and bring on Chicharito if we’re in need of a goal. The Mexican hitman is always extremely effective from the bench and would no doubt cause the Liverpool defence no end of problems if he came on with 30 mins left.
Whether Sir Alex agrees remains to be seen…
Have I lost the plot? Feel free to comment suggest and abuse below: