Rooney's foot: The latest: Rooney scores, the crowd roars (if only)

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The Independent Football

The Manchester United striker - who hasn't played a competitive match since fracturing the bone in a Premiership game on 29 April - hit the ball sweetly with his recovering right foot, showing no sign of discomfort whatsoever.

Rooney, considered by many to be England's most gifted and influential player, was gleefully declared "injury-free" by coach Sven Goran Eriksson on Friday - after flying back to Manchester for scans - and was among the substitutes for yesterday's Group B opening match against Paraguay.

England supporters, who occupied more than half the seats at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, clapped and cheered loudly when Rooney came on the field with the rest of the squad, jogged, stretched and took shots on goal.

Rooney, 20, was England's top scorer at the 2004 European Championship, prompting Eriksson to compare his impact to that of the young Pele at the 1958 World Cup.

Rooney's rehabilitation has dominated newspaper reports in the build-up to the tournament, with England's odds to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966 fluctuating according to the progress of his metatarsal.

Eriksson is now thought to be considering using the striker as a substitute perhaps as soon as England's next group game, against Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday.