Roma coach Rudi Garcia has confirmed that reported Manchester United target Kevin Strootman will be on the bench for the Italian side this weekend.
The Netherlands international has been out since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury eight months ago – robbing him of a chance to play at the World Cup and leaving Roma without one of their best players for a considerable spell.
Even though he has been side-lined, that has not stopped Strootman being linked with a move to Old Trafford, with reports every few weeks suggesting Louis van Gaal will make a move for his countryman.
The latest claims were published by the Daily Star just last week, with a story claiming United officials would travel to Roma to watch Strootman take part in a specially-arranged B team match to aid the player’s recovery.
However, Garcia has since revealed that Strootman will be on the first-team bench on the very day of the previously mentioned B team game.
In comments published by Gianluca Di Marzio’s official website, the Roma boss said, “Strootman? He will be on the bench.”
It is a huge boost for the player who will be desperate to get back to action but will know all too well the perils of rushing back.
As a result, Roma are likely to use him very spairingly in the weeks ahead, with any January move to United surely off the cards as he steps up his recovery and van Gaal ensures he is back to his very best.
For that reason, along with the fact that Roma are not going to want to sell one of their best players as they challenge for the Serie A title, a much-touted move is surely off the table for now. But don’t expect the rumours to stop…