David Moyes is considering selecting the unsettled Wayne Rooney for Manchester United's opening Premier League game at Swansea City. The manager also hinted at a conspiracy against the champions over the difficulty of their opening five fixtures and admitted that having been in charge of Everton he was not used to "shopping" for the level of players United have to attract.
Rooney made his return to competitive action in England's 3-2 friendly win over Scotland on Wednesday following a shoulder injury. While the unhappy striker remains desperate to join Chelsea, United are insistent he will not be sold and Moyes said Rooney's fitness would be assessed regarding the squad for Swansea.
"He got his first competitive 65 minutes [against Scotland]," the manager said. "He hasn't had any other serious action. It was a good game for him but I thought Danny Welbeck also had some good match action and I was pleased about that – and Tom Cleverley as well. So, from that point of view, it was good that they got a run-out." Asked whether Rooney may be a substitute on Saturday, Moyes said: "I couldn't tell you right now. I couldn't answer that. I have said he has had no match practice, so I will assess it when I get back and see how he is. I will be back [Thursday] afternoon and will see how he is after the game."
Of Rooney's future, Moyes said: "[There are] no more developments, we don't want any more because we've told everybody he's not for sale."
After Swansea, United play Chelsea on Monday week in Moyes's first home league match, before visiting Liverpool, hosting Crystal Palace and then meeting Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium for the derby.
Moyes hinted he thought there was a conspiracy against United regarding this challenging run of games. "Well, the old manager told me those sort of things happened," he said of Sir Alex Ferguson. "It's the hardest start for 20 years that Manchester United have had. I hope it's not because Manchester United won the league quite comfortably last year [that] the fixtures have been made much more difficult. I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag, that's for sure."
The schedule is decided by computer software, in conjunction with the Premier League, Football Association, police forces, supporters' groups and clubs. A league spokesperson said: "David has put those concerns to us. We have absolutely assured him the process is random and above board. He has accepted those assurances."
United have experienced a difficult summer in the market, with the pursuit of Barcelona's Cesc Fábregas, their No1 target, apparently over after the Spaniard stated he had no wish to leave. With Moyes yet to make a major signing, the manager admitted he is adjusting to the demands of acquiring players for United.
"Yes [we are progressing]. Moving along in the right direction. Everybody wants things done quickly but you have to remember, I got the job on 1 July. I have had five or six weeks now and three of them are on tour. Obviously, we keep working towards getting things. This could be a difficult window for me because obviously the level I have been shopping in in the past is not the level Manchester United have been shopping in. That has to come into consideration. I want to assess all the players, see them all and give myself the chance to have a look and see what we need.
"I'm confident we will have players in. We're involved in several players and that will continue. Will we get them before the [2 September] deadline? I hope so. We're working very hard to do so."
Marouane Fellaini, Leighton Baines, Luka Modric and Geoffrey Kondogbia are all under consideration.