It was reported prior to Man United’s game with Sunderland that Rooney, who featured in wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, would miss out on the clash with David Moyes’ side after picking up a knock during training.
His absence did not prove to be decisive, with Mourinho’s men cruising to a comfortable 3-1 over the Black Cats.
Mourinho, speaking after the game, confirmed that Rooney had picked up a “deep” muscle injury and would most likely miss the game against Middlesbrough.
Jose on @WayneRooney chances for Saturday: "I don't think so. I hope so. I have my doubts. Muscle injury. Deep muscle."
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) December 26, 2016
There is no quick fix for a muscle injury. Such afflictions can only be dealt with through various forms of physical therapy, and Rooney, as a result, could be sidelined for a few weeks.
But United fans shouldn’t worry. Rooney’s injury opens up the possibility of seeing Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan featuring in the same side. And with Mata’s craft on the left hand side and Mkhitaryan, who once again illustrated his brilliance against Sunderland, operating as a No.10, alongside the lively presence of either Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford or Jesse Lingard, Mourinho’s men would create chances with reckless abandon.