Manchester United ring changes for Europa League clash as star attacker omitted

By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Wayne Rooney has been omitted from the Manchester United squad for their Europa League clash against Midtjylland on Thursday night.

Rooney was not part of the travelling party that boarded the plane at Manchester airport on Wednesday morning bound for Denmark.

Louis van Gaal will ring the changes for the first leg of the last-32 Europa League fixture as United prepare for a gruelling run of fixtures, including three matches next week.

United travel to League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town for next Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie, followed by the second leg of their tie against Midtjylland next Thursday before facing Arsenal in the Premier League on the Sunday.

Van Gaal has responded to the fixture list by taking a youthful squad to face the Danish champions, with rookies Donald Love, Regan Poole, Joe Riley, Andreas Pereira, James Weir and Will Keane all part of the travelling party.

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Senior players David de Gea, Michael Carrick, Juan Mata, Morgan Schneiderlin and Daley Blind are among those who have made the trip as well as Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Sergio Romero.

Rooney has made 32 appearances for United this season, a record bettered only by Chris Smalling (37), Daley Blind and Juan Mata (both 36).

Van Gaal is holding a press conference later in the day, at which he will address the topic of Rooney, who played the full 90 minutes in defeat at Sunderland at the weekend.