Rooney faces fierce battle to win back his starting role


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The Independent Online

Fabio Capello has warned Wayne Rooney that there is no guarantee he will automatically come back into the England team after his ban at Euro 2012, and said the Manchester United striker will not start in friendlies in the build-up to the tournament.

Rooney's sending-off for kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in the qualifying match in Podgorica, which ended in a 2-2 draw, means he will be banned for a minimum of one game, possibly more, at the finals.

Capello (right) indicated that Rooney would be in the squad, but not the team, when Spain visit Wembley for their marquee friendly on 12 November

"I need to find the solution for the first game or two games that Rooney would have played," Capello said. "And then, if we find a solution, he needs to work to return to the first XI. Absolutely. I've got 23 players.

"In my life as a manager I have put on the bench a lot of good players. I always decided who was for me the best player at that moment."

Capello denied he had made a mistake in selecting Rooney just one day after the player's father was arrested over alleged spot-fixing in football, but added: "Rooney will not play against Spain. There will be new players and a new style and different movement."

Asked whether Rooney would start any friendly before next June, Capello joked: "He will be fresh.

"Sometimes [Rooney] will come on at half-time. We need to prepare the first XI. I have got a lot of forwards at this moment. I need to find a solution."