Rooney ready for Denmark after flu

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The Independent Football

England's striker worries ahead of Sunday's game against Denmark eased yesterday when it was announced that Wayne Rooney will be present when the England squad assembles in Manchester today.

The Everton striker, 18, missed Monday's Premiership defeat at Blackburn because of the flu bug which has swept the Bellefield training complex. Rooney has since been confined to his home and the Everton physiotherapist, Mike Rathbone, said only yesterday morning that Rooney was "very unwell" and expected to be laid low for "five or six days".

However, the Football Association said in the afternoon that he will join up with the rest of the squad ahead of the Old Trafford friendly. That will come as welcome news for Sven Goran Eriksson, who has already been deprived of Michael Owen because of the Liverpool striker's ankle injury and would have been without both his first-choice forwards had Rooney pulled out.

The FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "Wayne Rooney will join up with the England squad in Manchester tomorrow. Our medical staff spoke to the Everton medical staff this morning and we're hopeful he'll be available."

Rathbone, who visited Rooney with the club doctor, had said earlier that the player has had the same symptoms as Alan Stubbs, who has lost half a stone in weight while ill. "He is suffering from the exact symptoms as the other players who have been affected and we are assuming that it is the same viral condition," he said. "It is a particularly nasty bug that affects you for a period of five or six days."

Eriksson exuded confidence regarding Euro 2004. "Why shouldn't we be one of the favourites?" he said. "We have shown that we can cope against any country. We lost against Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals, but they aren't in this tournament.

"The England players believe that they can beat any team, I'm sure about that, and they have shown that as well. Why shouldn't we believe that we're a very good side?"

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