Fabio Capello harbours no concerns about Manchester United's immediate plans for Wayne Rooney and is confident that England's best interests will be served, despite a belief in some quarters that the injured striker has an outside chance of facing Bayern Munich at Old Trafford tomorrow night.
The England coach might not be so relaxed if he felt Rooney were going to start against Louis van Gaal's side, and the odds remain weighted against that outcome, despite Rooney surpassing expectations so far in his recuperation from a damaged ankle on a water treadmill and the Carrington training centre's cardiovascular exercise bikes.
Though Rooney has a 40 per cent chance of playing tomorrow according to some sources, the England camp feel there is a substantial gulf between developing well on a water treadmill and actually running. United have no obligation to tell Capello of their plans for the 24-year-old. The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is scheduled to discuss his side's preparations for the quarter-final second leg, which United enter trailing Bayern 2-1, at 1pm today.
Rooney's likely absence increases Federico Macheda's prospects of a role tomorrow, though he is not understood to have any conviction that Ferguson will start with him in a 4-4-2 formation alongside Dimitar Berbatov. The 18-year-old has only been training pain-free for two weeks, after a long-standing groin problem which doctors have attributed in part to a growth spurt in the Italian.
Macheda has been undergoing twice daily yoga sessions in an attempt to shake off the injury and has undergone an intensive cardiovascular and muscular regime at Carrington but his lack of competitive football this season makes the idea of starting with the Italian against Bayern a major gamble. His three goals in six United appearances have all come off the bench and since he has not sparkled when he has started for United, his use as an impact player seems most likely.
Bayern are expected to have winger Arjen Robben aboard their flight to Manchester this morning, as well as the former Manchester City defender Daniel van Buyten, who was substituted during Bayern's 2-1 win over Schalke on Saturday after suffering a bruised knee. The midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is also available for selection after completing his suspension.
United's captain Gary Neville said of the tie: "Complacency wasn't an issue for us [in the first leg last week]. It was just that we didn't play to our best. I could point towards a similar situation against Manchester City in the Carling Cup semi-final earlier this season, when we lost 2-1 in the first leg but got the result we needed in the second leg."
The Football Association's disciplinary committee does not intend to pursue Ferguson over his post-match comments about Mike Dean, the referee in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, even though Ferguson seemingly underminedDean's reputation by suggesting he was "worried" about the referee's appointment to the game.Reuse content