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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rooney's in

.(AFP/Adrian Dennis)

Rooney gets World Cup green light

Wayne Rooney has been included in Sven-Goran Eriksson's World Cup squad, BBC Sport understands.

Rooney appears to have won the race to prove his fitness after breaking a metatarsal in his right foot while playing for Manchester United in April.

He flew back to Germany to re-join the England squad landing at Karlsruhe near Baden-Baden just after 2200 BST.

He had earlier spent two hours at a Manchester clinic while doctors studied the results of Wednesday's scan.

Football Association sources told the BBC unofficially Rooney is in Eriksson's final England squad for the tournament.

FA executive director David Davies had a broad grin on his face as he left hospital with Rooney before they drove to Manchester Airport.

An official announcement has yet to be made by either the FA or United - who announced on their website at 1945 BST that a "decisive" scan result "will be announced this evening".

However at 2245 BST the United website hinted an official statement might not come until Thursday.

If England goes far, this is why.

Rooney is very good up front, and with Owen, they could make a real difference in England's chances.

Update: It seems Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Rooney's club, Manchester United, is mega-pissed.

England's head coach is not reckless enough to take such a decision without receiving the approval of the team's doctor, Leif Sward, but Ferguson will be full of foreboding at the mere suggestion. The Manchester United manager has strong reservations about Rooney taking any part in the tournament, never mind accelerating his recovery to make his comeback in only 12 days' time. Tellingly, some of Rooney's own representatives are also concerned that Eriksson may be gambling with his long-term fitness. The Swede is close to the end of his employment with the Football Association and there is a suspicion that he has become demob happy.

"There is a huge difference between running round a few poles and kicking a lightweight football around to having 13 stone of Argentine defender jumping on your recently broken foot," said one of the people involved in the process. "If Rooney gets injured in the course of the tournament then you can expect the mother of all Glaswegian explosions."

Breaking off from his holiday in the south of France, Ferguson voiced his misgivings in the strongest possible terms during a series of fractious top-level telephone calls to, among others, the FA executive director David Davies, but ultimately he was powerless to do anything more than request that his star player be treated with extreme caution. The FA will try to appease United and their manager by promising to update them on a daily basis.

Fifa's regulations meant United could not withdraw their player, as Ferguson would have liked, but it says everything about the club's position that their first reaction to being told that Rooney's recovery was ahead of schedule was reportedly to request a second opinion. That job is understood to have fallen to Angus Wallace, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre and a former chairman of the National Sports Medicine Institute.

David Gill, United's chief executive, was given a running commentary while on leave in Miami and he offered an indication of what might be to come by instructing the club's solicitor Maurice Watkins to attend the clinic.

Watkins, who represented Rio Ferdinand when the FA banned him for missing a drugs test, was the most senior United official in a room of 12 people and took extensive notes to make sure everything that was said was officially recorded. Quite what action United could take should Rooney break down again is not clear, but the club are clearly intent on covering all angles.

posted by Steve @ 12:05:00 AM

12:05:00 AM

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