England hopes ride on a bicycle made for Roo

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The Independent Online

The latest bulletin on Wayne Rooney's health has been described as "very, very positive" by the England team doctor Leif Sward. The Manchester United striker was seen riding a bicycle around the club's Carrington training ground on Friday as he endeavours to recover from breaking a metatarsal in his right foot.

Just two weeks after being carried off on a stretcher during United's defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Rooney has raised hopes he could be fit in time to play a part during the World Cup. "I just talked to the doctors in Manchester and the report they gave me was very, very positive," said Sward. "I don't want to say so much because we have decided Manchester United's medical team, with Mike Stone in charge, will work with Rooney's recovery.

"I can say they have done a tremendous job with Wayne. I am very glad for this latest report. Wayne's progress is very positive." England's first group game against Paraguay is now under a month away, but coach Sven Goran Eriksson is keeping his fingers crossed Rooney will be ready for the latter stages of the tournament.

Meanwhile Brazilian Ronaldinho insists the door is open for Arsenal striker Thierry Henry to join him at Barcelona. Ronaldinho revealed he and Henry have spoken recently and exchanged text messages, as the Frenchman agonises over whether to commit himself to the Gunners or make a fresh start in Spain after the sides meet in Wednesday's Champions' League final in Paris.

While not making it explicit whether there was definite interest from Barça, Ronaldinho did a good job of selling his club as the place to be. "Henry has quality and he would make any team better," the 26-year-old said. "He is so good technically and has great pace and force. He has the characteristics of a player who could adapt to any team in the world.

"But I'm not thinking that in the final I can impress him and convince him to join us. That's not my priority. It won't be me that makes the decision for him."

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