There was bad news for England last night and Sven Goran Eriksson has not even seen the scan results on Wayne Rooney's broken metatarsal yet. A bizarre 2-1 B international defeat to Belarus was compounded when goalkeeper Robert Green ruptured his groin, which means that he is out of the World Cup finals.
The results of Rooney's MRI scan on the broken fourth metatarsal of his right foot will be revealed around lunchtime today, but the first indications are that they are not completely conclusive. The debate between Manchester United and the Football Association over his fitness for the World Cup finals will begin when Eriksson's team doctor Leif Sward is called by the club this morning.
While a further scan could take place next week while the FA is in Manchester, with Tuesday the preferred date, it is looking increasingly likely that if Rooney travels to Germany he will do so accompanied by at least one of United's medical staff. They will be there to oversee his recovery and also as Sir Alex Ferguson's insurance policy that Rooney will not play if he is not completely fit.
It was United's assistant doctor Tony Gill and head physiotherapist Rob Swire who, in the absence of the sacked club doctor Mike Stone, accompanied the player to the Bupa hospital in Whalley Range yesterday. A statement from United will be made today, although no one expects it to offer a definitive date when Rooney will again be fit, and Eriksson admitted yesterday that he may not speak to Ferguson until next week.
The main consultant treating Rooney will take another look at the scan results this morning before speaking to the FA. Eriksson said he was not concerned by the dismissal of Dr Stone and the effect it may have on the player's recovery. "They are extremely well covered at United," he added.
On England B's 2-1 defeat, Eriksson was more positive. While he admitted "it's always disappointing to lose a football game", the England manager said he was pleased that the "senior players" in the side Michael Owen, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher and Ashley Cole had emerged unscathed. Owen, Eriksson said, "seems to be very fit and didn't feel anything after the game".
While the Arsenal teenager Theo Walcott came on after 65 minutes, the most impressive new boy was Aaron Lennon, of Tottenham Hotspur. "You saw today why he is in the squad," Eriksson said, "he played very, very well.
"He played as he has done for the last two and a half months in the Premiership. He will be very useful [at the World Cup]. He was exceptional, quick feet and pace."
On Walcott, Eriksson said: "My only concern is that he is nervous and cannot handle a situation. He showed that he could handle it. If he had played badly today, then only I would have been to blame."
Green, a half-time substitute, ruptured his groin and then collapsed as he took a goal-kick on 50 minutes. The ball rolled to Vitaly Kutozov, who equalised after Jermaine Jenas had opened the scoring for England B before the interval. "That's bad news," said Eriksson. "Almost for sure he is out of the World Cup. He will go for a scan but that will be just to confirm that he is out. It's a bad groin injury."
Scott Carson will deputise for Green as England's third-choice goalkeeper. "It's always disappointing to lose a football match, but it was not that important," Eriksson said. "What is important is to win against Paraguay. I think there were much more positives than negatives absolutely. It was very important that our senior players came through without any problems."Reuse content