Wayne Rooney ruled out of Manchester United's game vs Middlesbrough by manager Jose Mourinho

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney remains unavailable for selection through injury and will miss the Reds' home game against Middlesbrough, confirmed manager Jose Mourinho.

Young left-back Luke Shaw has returned to full training but is unlikely to start on New Year's Eve at Old Trafford.

United are looking for a fifth consecutive league win, a sixth in all competitions, as they hope to make up ground on the top four, currently four points off the fourth spot thanks to a poor September and October.

Shaw unlikely to start

"Luke Shaw is training without any problem, but I don't think he's ready to start," the Portuguese boss said. "Rooney is still injured."

United have hardly needed their captain recently, his absence allowing both Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata and seeing them flourish. Mkhitaryan missed a game with injury himself, but returned against Sunderland with a special goal, a backheel flick on the volley to give United a 3-1 win. That was the 11th consecutive game in which United have avoided defeat, a run stretching back to early November.

Rooney remains injured as record draws closer

The Englishman is just two goals off the club's all-time goalscoring record, set by Sir Bobby Charlton in the 1970s. He has failed to score since United's 4-0 win against Feyenoord and hasn't scored in the Premier League since the opening day against AFC Bournemouth.

Rooney has been linked with a move to China previously, and Mourinho spoke about the Chinese Super League in his press conference ahead of the Boro game. 

“My opinion is that everyone is free to choose his life and I am no-one to criticise anyone or give an opinion on that,” Mourinho said. “Everyone is free to choose what is their priorities."