Fabio Capello has not yet given up on picking Wayne Rooney for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro next month despite Sir Alex Ferguson's announcement that the striker will miss the next "two to three weeks" with an injury to his left ankle.
The Capello camp noted Ferguson's declaration on Tuesday night that Rooney will be out of action for Manchester United for the foreseeable future because of an injury sustained on Sunday against Bolton. The United manager did not say explicitly that Rooney would miss the England game on 12 October and Capello is keeping an open mind on the player's availability.
The England manager may yet select him in the squad which is due to be named on Monday. The players do not meet until a week today meaning that Rooney has almost a fortnight to regain his fitness. With Jermain Defoe missing with a long-term groin injury, Capello cannot afford to write off Rooney's chances of playing in such an important game so early.
Rooney played in both England's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland earlier this month. He was left out of the following game against Everton but subsequently played against Rangers in the Champions League and Liverpool and Bolton in the Premier League. The injury has been described by Ferguson as a ligament problem.
In spite of Capello's injury problems among his strikers he has no intention of giving Michael Owen a recall. The United striker has not played for England since March 2008, Capello's second game in charge away to France which was the only time he has played under the Italian. The England manager feels that it would be a backward step to recall a player who has been out of his plans for so long.
Peter Crouch and Darren Bent look like the obvious starters in attack if Rooney does not come through his injury problems. The Capello camp will also look at Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has struggled with injuries.
Capello has no plans to try to steal the German midfielder Lewis Holtby, who has eligibility to play for England, away from the German national team. It is his understanding that Holtby, 20, who is on loan at Bundesliga leaders Mainz, wants to play for Germany. There are no plans to persuade him otherwise.