Mkhitaryan absence gives Rooney hope of EFL Cup final start, admits Mourinho

The United skipper could be a surprise inclusion in the the Red Devils starting XI to face Southampton at Wembley this weekend

After a week of intense speculation linking him with a move to the Chinese Super League, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney could yet start the EFL Cup final against Southampton on Sunday.

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The 31-year-old England forward, skipper for both club and country, had been tipped in many quarters to leave the Premier League ahead of the transfer window closing in China on Tuesday.

He reiterated his commitment to United in a statement on Thursday and, with fellow attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan ruled out due to injury, the club's record goalscorer might find himself in the starting XI at Wembley Stadium, despite having fallen down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

"I have to make a decision," the Portuguese manager told a news conference when quizzed on Rooney's possible inclusion from kick-off.

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"You know that we normally play two different systems. Sometimes we play with two midfield players and a number 10. Sometimes we play with a number six and two midfield players in front. 

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"Without Mkhitaryan, if we want to play with a number 10, obviously Wayne, this is his position. This is where he was playing many matches with us. So he is an option for me. A final is a special match and he's an option for me."