Clemence: England upbeat despite Rooney doubt

May 30, 2006

Ray Clemence insists the England squad are 'anything but downbeat' despite the uncertainty over key man Wayne Rooney's fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Wayne Rooney
GettyImages / AlexLivesey'THE' foot.

The Manchester United striker faces a scan in eight days' time which may determine whether he travels to Germany as a member of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.

Jermain Defoe and Andrew Johnson are on standby, in case the 20-year-old's foot injury rules him out.

'I can assure you, the team is anything but downbeat,' Clemence, England's goalkeeping coach, told BBC Radio Five Live.

'Wayne joined us on Sunday evening and he's lively as he always is... The team is very, very upbeat and just want to focus on getting things right in two weeks' time.'

Clemence insists England are among the main contenders for glory in Germany, whether or not Rooney plays.

'We all know what a tremendous player Wayne Rooney is and what an influence he has on the side when he plays,' the former England goalkeeper added.

'But if you look at our record of games when he hasn't played, I think we've lost only one of them, so we have a tremendous squad and 22 exceptional players apart from Wayne.

'Certainly we're confident, if Wayne doesn't go, that we're still confident of being one of the sides who compete very strongly at the World Cup.'