Six ways for Manchester United to replace injured Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney 2014

How should Manchester United replace Wayne Rooney?

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is out of action with an ankle injury, a serious blow to the Red Devils' hopes of battling back to earn a Champions League place.

The BBC report he faces six weeks out, while The Times estimates he will miss two months.

If only manager Louis van Gaal had not let Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck leave over the past 18 months, United would have little trouble coping - as it is their options are limited in quality if not quantity.

Here is a look at six ways United could seek to address Rooney's absence...

Anthony Martial 

The obvious solution is to start playing Anthony Martial centrally, rather than sticking him out wide. This could be the opportunity the Frenchman has needed to boost his goal tally, but Rooney's injury increases the pressure on the 20-year-old.

Will Keane

Will Keane struggled on loan at Preston this season but was recalled and has been scoring for fun for the under-21s, netting five against Norwich. He was given a loan cameo against Sunderland, and this could be make or break for his United career.

Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay is capable of playing up front as he showed in pre-season, and against Watford earlier this campaign. A role in the centre could give the Dutchman the freedom he wants without the shackles of defensive duties.

James Wilson

One option for United would be to recall James Wilson from his spell at Brighton. Wilson is an England under-21 international who has been waiting for the type of chance he could now get with Rooney out, only to be stuck on the south coast battling for Championship promotion instead.

Marcus Rashford 

Next in line could be teenager Marcus Rashford, who has made a good impression for the under-21 side earlier this season. He is a raw talent but has the physical attributes to be a top striker, and Louis van Gaal has not been afraid to give youngsters opportunities when needed.

Adnan Januzaj

The Belgian winger can also feature up front like Depay, even netting as a striker against Barcelona in pre-season. Januzaj needs a spark to get his United career back on track after returning from a poor Dortmund loan, and Rooney's absence could lead to increased opportunities.

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