Few football fixtures capture the public imagination like the Manchester derby – and this Sunday should be a classic at United’s Old Trafford.
Good news for Manchester United ahead of this Sunday’s heated derby with Manchester City is that after a lay-off due to an ankle problem, United striker Robin Van Persie could return to the field just in time for the match.
Van Persie wrote on Twitter: “Back to training with the group today. Was a great session. Happy to be fit and able to play again. Looking forward to my next game!”
He has scored only 10 goals for the Old Trafford team this season – but over 50 throughout his time at the club – winning the Premier League title in his first season.
He is now linked with an £18million bid from two Italian teams, so United are bracing themselves for offers this summer.
United have had five straight wins in the league, with victories against Tottenham and Liverpool – which have no doubt helped the clubs confidence and the team’s morale after a torrid start.
United’s form has generally dipped since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired, but we’ve started to see a recent improvement in their game under manager Louis van Gaal – and much like the patterns of old – they’ve revived form after Christmas.
If Van Gaal's side win on Sunday his team will move to third spot in the League and be four points clear of a slipped City, and Rooney is determined to give United fans something to brag on about.
"I think it's a very important game for Manchester United and Manchester City,” said Rooney.
Rooney has said Sunday's match is "a massive game of pride" for him and fans alike.
"We want to give United fans something to smile about when they go to work on Monday morning. We want them to be the ones to be able to give out the banter to Manchester City fans at work."
Rooney has had a good run recently for United, scoring six goals in his last eight outings and his teammate Ander Herrera, was full of praise for his skipper.
Herrera said: “Wayne is our leader. He's maybe the strongest guy – not only physically, but also mentally. I think we in the squad are following him always.
“He is our captain, our leader and our biggest character. I think he shows very, very well what Manchester United is.”
City’s dismal 2-1 loss on Monday to Crystal Palace cannot have helped the side’s spirits in the build-up to this derby, with City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini saying he is "not concerned" about his future, so perhaps by some unknown force he’s squeezing some optimism into his charge.
Monday’s loss at Selhurst Park moved the City’s stats to four wins in 11 league games, which leaves them nine points behind leaders Chelsea – and fourth overall.
Last time out City beat United 1-0 but it's clear to see that leading Gambling Deals sportsbook partners are seeing the balance of power shift, as odds on who will win the Premier League are now even at 66/1 for both City and United – lets see who gets those bragging rights first on Sunday.