7 Aug 2008

Rooney out with virus

7:37 am on 7 August 2008

Wayne Rooney will miss the start of the Premier League season after contracting a virus during Manchester United's pre-season trip to Nigeria.

The striker has felt too weak to train since United returned from Africa last week and coach Sir Alex Ferguson expects to be without the England star when the European champions kick-off against Newcastle on August 17.

With Cristiano Ronaldo already sidelined for several weeks after ankle surgery, Rooney's absence is a major blow for United heading into the new campaign.

Ferguson, who insisted Rooney was not suffering from malaria, now has only Carlos Tevez, Louis Saha and Frazier Campbell to choose his forward line from.