Anxious Sven sweats on Rooney update

May 4, 2006

Sven-Goran Eriksson is today sweating on a medical bulletin about Wayne Rooney's broken foot.

Eriksson expects an update on Rooney's World Cup chances from England doctor Leif Sward who was due to meet his Manchester United counterpart Mike Stone today.

United issued a statement yesterday claiming that Rooney, who collected the fans-voted Matt Busby Player of the Year award at his club's end-of-season dinner last night, should be back in full training in six weeks.

That eased Eriksson's fears that the striker's recovery could be delayed by news that he had more than one fracture in the foot.

Rooney is doing everything he can to play some part in the World Cup finals, which start in Germany on June 9, but time is running out.

Eriksson said: 'The doctors will talk to each other. If he's fit, he's fit. If he's not fit, he's not fit. It's just a matter of whether he can play football or not.

'I don't know if it's going to be possible to have him in the World Cup or not. I hope so and I will believe so because I am optimistic by nature.

'I am not depressed. It's a pity Wayne Rooney got injured but we have a lot of good players and we will have a good World Cup.

'You have to move on. Life is not finished just because of that.'

Asked if he would select Rooney for Germany if his only chance was to be fit in time for the final on July 9, Eriksson said: 'Yes. And why? To win the final.

'We are talking about Wayne Rooney. You don't want to rule him out until it's 100% sure.

'Some other players are not that important, so you have to take it case by case.

'I think every England fan will agree with me when I say I don't want to rule out Wayne Rooney.

'I don't want to hear the words `definitely out'. I want to wait as late as possible.

'If we think he can make part of the World Cup he will be in. Why shouldn't he?'

Eriksson has spoken to United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and discussed his plans to pick Rooney for his initial squad on Monday.

The Swede said: 'Wayne probably will be picked in the squad but he will stay in Manchester to do recovery and he will stay there until all the doctors involved think he is football-fit.

'Whether that is before during or after the World Cup, I don't know.'

Eriksson names his squad on Monday. He will name his 23, plus three or four standby players.

The final squad has to be handed to FIFA on May 15, but injured players can be replaced up to 24 hours before the first game.

Rooney will not be fit for the start of the World Cup and Eriksson must settle on a replacement.

The Swede mentioned Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent when he touched upon the subject yesterday and he expects Michael Owen to be fit.

He has three games to experiment with possible formations - a B international against Belarus on May 25 and two full international friendlies, against Hungary on May 30 and Jamaica on June 2.

England fly to Germany on June 5 and play their first Group B game against Paraguay on June 10.

Rooney said last night on MUTV: 'I know football is a physical game and unfortunately for me it's happened at a bad time.

'I'm a young lad. Any player wants to play in World Cups and I'm the same.

'I've got to be strong and if it's not to be then I'm sure I'll have more tournaments to play after that.'