London - The horrific injury Wayne Rooney suffered at Old Trafford on Saturday was so bad it shocked surgeons and required dozens of stitches to repair the Manchester United striker’s thigh muscle.

Rooney faces a fitness battle after undergoing complex surgery on the deep gash he suffered in United’s 3-2 win over Fulham in the Premier League.

The gash - caused by the studs of Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega - was deep enough to cut all the way to the thigh bone and required surgery under general anaesthetic.

Rooney had to have stitches to the muscle and then to close up the wound. The striker spent the night in hospital on Saturday before being allowed home and now faces a lengthy recovery period.