When Manchester City tore into them in the 4-1 defeat at The Etihad Stadium in the Manchester Derby, Rooney was the only player to come out of the game with a morsel of respect - a moment of magic from a free-kick also proving to be a shining light in the game.
Rooney then would have been wanted this evening against Shakhtar - where United and David Moyes need a positive result after the poor performance and result against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday at Old Trafford.
But Rooney is not in the team, in fact he is not in the squad - as the striker is under the weather.*
Thankfully, with the transfer window shut and Rooney now seemingly happy at the club, there is no talk of a potential ulterior motive behind the absence.
Perhaps the cold weather in Donetsk got to him. Think our 17 degrees is bad, try on the four degrees above zero that the Ukrainians are currently having to deal with - it is going to be a biting night in the east of Ukraine for United’s players.
Lucky the absence of Rooney has somewhat been alleviated by the return to first-team action of Robin van Persie - which could not come at a more timely moment after Rooney’s sickness.
But here is the team and subs bench for the game in the Donbass Arena…
Starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Cleverley, Welbeck; van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, Giggs, Nani, Young, Kagawa, Hernandez.
Will United miss Rooney?
* Rooney has now been confirmed to have a shin injury, rather than being unwell as originally reported
image: © gordonflood.com