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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Rooney return lifts Man Utd
Sir Alex Ferguson with 27.5m signing Wayne Rooney
Rooney is still waiting to make his debut in a United shirt
England striker Wayne Rooney may be named on the Manchester United bench for Monday's showdown with Liverpool.

The 18-year-old is making rapid progress since breaking a bone in his foot at Euro 2004.

"Rooney is training," said Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. "But we can't do anything until he goes before the medics on Monday morning."

Rooney, who signed for United from Everton for 27m in the summer, has had no reaction to the injury.

United had originally set a comeback target date of 3 October and may even have been prepared to hold him back until the visit to Birmingham on 16 October.

That would have put him out of England's World Cup qualifying matches against Wales and Azerbaijan.

But Ferguson may be tempted to give Rooney his first taste of Old Trafford from the bench.

Despite the fact the youngster is far from being fully fit, his appearance among the substitutes may take some of the pressure off Rio Ferdinand.

The England defender is due to make his first start for United in eight months after completing his ban for missing a drugs test.

Ferdinand's return to the United line-up will provide a welcome boost for Ferguson's struggling side and will add some much-needed stability to a creaking defence.






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