Wayne Rooney will miss up to three weeks of action for club and country, the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed last night.
The striker, who has been short of form and goals all season, was substituted with half an hour left against Bolton in the Premier League on Sunday and did not travel with the United squad for their Champions League match against Valencia tonight.
The ankle injury update from Ferguson means Rooney will miss the League game at Sunderland on Saturday and also England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on 12 October. Ferguson also confirmed that midfielder Paul Scholes will be sidelined for 10 days with a calf problem.
"It will be two to three weeks," said Ferguson. "But it depends because Wayne has done quite well with his recovery from injury in the past."
Rooney's absence against Montenegro will be a blow to the England manager, Fabio Capello, given he has already lost Frank Lampard, Theo Walcott, Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora to a growing injury list, plus James Milner through suspension.
However, it could be argued it is just what Rooney needs after an awful period, during which time his private life has been thrown into turmoil and his form has collapsed. He has still only scored once this season – from the penalty spot against West Ham – compared with three in a week for Michael Owen and seven so far this season for United's top scorer Dimitar Berbatov.
Kevin Keegan claimed on Sunday that Rooney's confidence was "shot", adding the forward only had himself to blame for the press intrusion into his life because of the number of endorsements he currently has. Not that Ferguson was getting into such topics yesterday. "It is a straightforward ankle injury," he said. "And it is not the same one he did in Munich."