Initial fears that Wayne Rooney's participation in the World Cup was in doubt were dispelled yesterday when he was ruled out of action for only around a month after spraining an ankle in Manchester United's Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
The England striker flew back to Manchester with his right foot in a protective boot but the news will come as a relief to the England manager Fabio Capello who must have been fearful of losing his talismanic striker for the entire World Cup – which starts in less than 11 weeks' time.
The United striker was hurt in the final minute of the 2-1 loss to Bayern Munich having earlier scored his 34th goal of the season. The sight of Rooney lying on the turf in pain at the Allianz Arena led to fears the England striker might be out for several months.
Capello said yesterday that the injury was "terrible" news. However, Rooney was reportedly in good spirits on the flight back to England and was able to walk up and down the aisle of the plane without the use of his crutches.
Rooney underwent his scan after being whisked from the airport upon his arrival. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, will be less pleased as his key striker will miss Saturday's vital Premier League match against their title rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford. Rooney will also sit out the second leg of the tie against Bayern Munich next Wednesday with United desperate for goals following their defeat. The responsibility will fall to Dimitar Berbatov who has been unreliable this season, with Michael Owen ruled out for the season by a hamstring injury.
Beyond that, matches against Blackburn and Manchester City await for United, before the resumption of European duties against either Lyons or Bordeaux should Bayern have been beaten.Reuse content