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Wayne Rooney is facing up to two months on the sidelines after suffering knee ligament damage.
Rooney was a notable absentee from the Manchester United squad for Thursday's Europa League last-32 first leg tie against FC Midtjylland.
A statement on the club's official website revealed manager Louis Van Gaal would explain the reason for his absence in his pre-match press conference but it emerged shortly afterwards that Rooney will miss at least six weeks with knee ligament damage.
Speaking to the media, Van Gaal confirmed that Rooney sustained the injury during the 2-1 loss to Sunderland but played on until the final whistle.
"That's typical Wayne," Van Gaal stated. "He's a guy who wants to go until the end - if he's feeling pain he doesn't want to go off. He wants to win.
"That's a fantastic attitude but sometimes it's also bad for his body.
"But you cannot say (if he made the injury worse by staying on) because he didn't know when (exactly) it happened. That's the difficulty."
Rooney's injury will come as a big blow to United's hopes of finishing in the top four with the captain set to miss Arsenal's visit to Old Trafford on Sunday week as well as the Manchester derby on March 20, while he could also miss the trip to Tottenham on April 9.
Van Gaal has already indicated that he feels winning the Europa League represents United's best chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League, but the Dutchman has opted to name a young squad for the trip to Denmark.
Matteo Darmian misses out after dislocating his shoulder in the 2-1 defeat at Sunderland last weekend.
Youngsters Regan Poole, Joe Riley and James Weir could all make their debuts for the club after being included in the squad, while Donald Love could be prompted to the starting line-up after coming on for Darmian at the Stadium Of Light.
Manchester United squad to face FC Midtjylland: De Gea, Romero, Love, McNair, Smalling, Blind, Poole, Riley, Carrick, Herrera, Schneiderlin, Lingard, Pereira, Weir, Mata, Memphis, Martial, Keane.