Wayne Rooney accuses Manchester United players of faking injuries

Wayne Rooney has launched a scathing attack on a number of injured Manchester United players, accusing them of deliberately leaving matches to protect themselves ahead of the FA Cup final or European Championship this summer.

United fell to their 19th defeat in all competitions as Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford lifted Mikel Arteta’s side back above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and ensured the title race would go down to the final day.

City can return to the top by beating Spurs on Tuesday, when Arteta hopes Tottenham can avoid defeat to give their north London rivals the advantage going into the final round of matches on Sunday.

Leandro Trossard’s 20-minute goal was enough to shake off a seriously depleted United and increase the pressure on manager Erik ten Hag, who was without eleven senior players due to injury.

But former United striker Rooney believes there are players in the Dutchman’s squad who are opting out of matches to protect their own interests with the cup final against City and the upcoming European Championship.

“There are some very good players in that team and the performances are well below par,” said United’s record goalscorer.

“Look at the injuries they sustained. Some of those players can play. A hundred percent. There’s a European Championship coming up, and an FA Cup final coming up.

“Because they’re getting a bit of traction now, it’s easy for players to stay out for a bit and then come back towards the final and get themselves fit for the European Championship.

“I’ve seen it myself over the years. “I just don’t think the players who are injured are filling themselves with any credit at the moment and the manager will pick up the baton for that.”

United declined to comment on Rooney’s comments.

Keane supports Rooney

Another former United captain, Roy Keane, echoed Rooney’s sentiments when he said: “It’s not a good sign when players don’t want to come back from injury and play. You will always have people who are injured, but you would hope that they are desperate to play football again.

“There are always a few players at a club who suffer from injuries, but in general, and if you look at the players I played with, if you give them time out, they will have a week or will be out for a week.” two of them.

“Sometimes when it’s a certain time of the season or players aren’t feeling confident, they’re not in a rush to get back into the team.”

United’s defeat left them in eighth place with two games to play and put them at risk of missing out on European qualification entirely this season, which Ten Hag admitted would be “very damaging”.

“It’s very damaging, but that’s the situation we’re in, yet we can still get there,” the United manager said. “We have the opportunities, we have to take responsibility, and then you have to intervene at every opportunity to get this done and fight, even when the problems are enormous.

“You can’t help a team in certain key areas with so many injuries. It’s like swimming with your hands behind your back and having to keep your head above the water level – that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Erik ten Hag claps the fans in the rainErik ten Hag claps the fans in the rain

Erik ten Hag is under a lot of pressure after a chaotic season – Getty Images/Robbie Jay Barratt

With United enduring a miserable campaign, the club has canceled the traditional end-of-season awards dinner. It was originally scheduled for next Monday – the day after the Premier League season ends – but with the cup final being played on May 25, the club say they don’t want any distractions ahead of the trip to Wembley.

This is the second time in three seasons that the awards dinner has been canceled. United’s players previously took the decision to withdraw their awards for the 2021-2022 season as results also plummeted under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Arsenal need City to drop points to have any chance of winning their first league title in 20 years and Arteta hopes Spurs can give his side a helping hand. Arsenal will then host Everton on Sunday, while City will play at home against West Ham.

“My experience in this competition is that any team can beat any team,” said the Arsenal manager. “I lived with different scenarios the last day, when many teams had supplies. The margin of respect that everyone puts into the games is phenomenal. We know we need a result.

“We still have to do our own thing in the last game. But today we wanted to open that box of dreams to experience the last day of the season for our people with the chance to win the Premier League. That is something we will live for together and I am so happy that we will do that with these players and staff.

“We really wanted to experience that moment. We said, ‘Now we have to earn the right to go to the last day and live that moment.’ That’s part of our journey to have a great chance of winning the Premier League. We wanted to experience that. We’re going to have a normal week of preparation to try to be in the best space to compete and beat Everton and then rise to the occasion.”

Mikel Arteta gesturesMikel Arteta gestures

Mikel Arteta guides his side to their 1-0 win at Old Trafford – Getty Images/Stuart MacFarlane

Arteta admitted it was a nervous afternoon against United, but yet another example of the steps he has taken at his side.

“Yes [I was nervous] because at the end of the day you know what the consequences are,” he said. “We started the game well and scored the goal, but I think that goal hit something. We started playing too safe, without respecting any structure and not with enough purpose.

“I didn’t like it and we had to change it, but we struggled with it. If you don’t have that element to be more dominant and more present in the game, you have to be extremely competitive and do the defensive things well. I thought we were excellent at that today.

“Winning, I think, encourages you to win more and be better equipped and better prepared and more confident to win in different contexts and get results in different ways.

“Someone told me it’s 27 wins in the Premier League. It is the highest number in the history of this club in 130 years. That’s not progress, that’s history. That’s very difficult to do, especially in the league we’re playing in now.”

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