Friday, 17 November 2017
Rojo steps up recovery and plays first match since April
Marcos Rojo will soon be available for the first team after he played a half for the Reds Under 23 side on Wednesday.
He played the opening 45 minutes in United's 2-1 win over Athletic Club in the Premier League International Cup - his first appearance since 20 April.
Rojo suffered his season-ending knee ligament injury in the second leg of the Europa League quarter final against Anderlecht seven months ago, when he fell awkwardly in a challenge.
He made his comeback in midweek, and showed good progress in his first half cameo before he was withdrawn, as planned, at the interval.
Although this weekend's fixture with Newcastle will probably come too soon for him, Rojo has continued to rebuild his fitness and has returned to training with his first-team colleagues.
Rojo struggled to adapt to life at United, and was disregarded as a flop under Louis van Gaal in a difficult start to his career at the club after signing from Sporting in 2014.
At the start of the 2016-17, we wouldn't have been bothered had he left - but now, he's considered one of our most important and influential players.
Like Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young to name but two, Rojo has been a player reborn since Jose's arrival and has had a new lease of life under the boss.
Improbably, Rojo went from whipping boy to fans favourite during the best season of his Old Trafford career so far last term.
He won many plaudits and turned his United fortunes around with a series of committed, tenacious and brave performances - so much so that there was even a mention that he could be touted as our player of the year.
He played 41 times and struck up a dependable, solid, grit-and-guile partnership with Ivorian Eric Bailly at the back, until his campaign was cruelly cut short by that horrible injury.
Up to now, Jose has gone with Phil Jones and Bailly as his preferred defensive axis and, having been out for so long, Rojo will have to work hard to break into the league's best defence.
He could be the answer to United's inconsistency at left-back, and could also slot into a back three, as Jose has used in recent high profile matches against Spurs and Chelsea.
Fellaini and Rojo are both back from injury and fit to play, two players who have gone from derided to desired in the space of a year.
Injuries have been a factor in the team's recent stumble, but the players - including Zlatan and Paul Pogba - are nearing full fitness once again.