By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Wayne Rooney hopes to be back playing within a month as he steps up his recovery from a knee injury, Football Insider sources understand.

The Manchester United talisman was ruled out for six to eight weeks after damaging knee ligaments in United’s defeat at Sunderland more than three weeks ago.

He was subsequently given permission by Louis van Gaal to go on a short family holiday to Dubai while the injury healed.

A source close to the situation has told Football Insider that Rooney is set to step up his rehabilitation this week by increasing his gym work following the removal of the protective brace on his knee.

He is ready to resume light jogging and will gradually increase his workload as he targets a return to full fitness by early April.

The 30-year-old United skipper will miss all of the team’s March fixtures, which include the titanic Europa League double header against Liverpool. The first leg takes place at Anfield on Thursday and the return leg is at Old Trafford a week later.

He is also set to miss the FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham this weekend and the Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium on 20 March, as well as England’s friendlies against Germany and Holland towards the end of the month.

Luke Shaw is set to be offered a new deal by Manchester United

Comeback kid: Shaw is still hopeful of playing again this season

Rooney could return against his former club Everton at Old Trafford on April 3, although the

United are currently sixth in the Premier League table after 29 games played with 47 points, three adrift of fourth-placed rivals City, who occupy the last Champions League qualifying spot and have played one fixture less.

In other Manchester United injury news, Luke Shaw hopes to play again this season.