Marcos Rojo returned from a long-term injury on Wednesday night as he played for Manchester United’s under-23s.
The Reds’ reserves came from behind to beat Athletic Club 2-1 in the Premier League International Cup at Leigh Sports Village.
Rojo started the game in central defence alongside 17-year-old Italian Luca Ercolani, who will have learnt a lot from the experience. Rojo was subbed off at half-time as he eases his way back into things.
The Argentine revealed recently that he’s targeting Man United’s final UEFA Champions League group game as the date for his full return for the first team. United do have two more games in Europe’s elite club competition’s group stages, with a trip to FC Basel coming up, but Rojo is aiming for December’s home game against CSKA Moscow.
That gives him three weeks or so to get back fully fit, and time in the under-23s will help him do that. He suffered ligament damage back in April when both he and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic went off with serious injuries in United’s UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht.
Rojo has returned ahead of his older teammate, unsurprisingly. Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, should also be nearing a comeback.
18-year-old Callum Gribbin also returned from injury in the game, which saw James Wilson score a wonderful header and Ethan Hamilton finish powerfully to grab United a second consecutive win in the competition having fallen behind in the first half.
Gribbin had been in fine form during pre-season but suffered a fractured fibula on the eve of the season starting and has not been involved since. It was thought he’d be out for longer than he has been, and he came on as a second-half substitute.