An oxygen chamber arrived at Manchester United's Carrington training complex yesterday but Sir Alex Ferguson was not infused with a sudden air of optimism about Wayne Rooney's World Cup prospects.
Though he revealed the second break in the fourth metatarsal of the England striker's right foot was not a cause for added alarm, confirming the club's initial prognosis of a six-week absence, the United manager declared he had learned from the mistakes of David Beckham in 2002 and would not allow Rooney to join Sven Goran Eriksson's squad unless his recovery had been completed.
Ferguson provided a progress report on Rooney's injury yesterday and announced that England will have a final answer on whether the 20-year-old can play a part in Germany once further scans are conducted "in a few weeks".
"You can't put a deadline on this simply because the scan tells you everything," the United manager said; "We'll send him back for a scan in a few weeks' time. If it's healed, then we've got the progress we want. If it's not, there's nothing we can do about it."
The Scot wants to avoid a repeat of the problems surrounding Beckham's participation at the last World Cup when the then United midfielder and Eriksson pressed for inclusion in South Korea and Japan despite the England captain's metatarsal fracture.
"We're in the hands of how Wayne improves. Gary Neville ended up having to have his pinned because he hadn't recovered properly. David Beckham I think I made a mistake on, because he ended up joining up with England in Dubai. I think he would have been much fitter if he'd stayed here.
"But he wanted to go to Dubai [though] I don't think he was fit enough to play a World Cup."Reuse content