- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HERNING, Denmark (AP) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said Wednesday that Wayne Rooney has sustained a knee injury and that there is no timeframe for the England striker’s return.

Rooney was absent from the 18-man squad named by United for the Europa League match with FC Midtjylland in Denmark on Thursday.

As for the forward’s return, Van Gaal said: “It’s difficult to say, but he’s injured in the game versus Sunderland (on Saturday) and has a knee problem. We have to wait and see how long that takes. I cannot say.

“He scores a lot of goals so he is very important for us. We know that but we have to cope with that… Everybody can be injured and also the captain can be injured.”

British media reports said the 30-year-old Rooney, who has scored seven goals in his last nine games for United, could be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

A lengthy absence would not only be a major blow to United’s hope of finishing in the Champions League places, but would also disrupt England’s preparations for the European Championship in France from June 10-July 10.

United is currently fifth in the Premier League, six points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City with 12 rounds of top-flight fixtures to go.

To prepare for Euro 2016, England has a double-header of international friendlies next month against Germany and the Netherlands.

Rooney has netted three times in four appearances for England this season, and is United’s top scorer this term with 14 goals in all competitions.

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