At 12.48pm yesterday came the news that England fans had prayed for, but scarcely dared to believe possible: Wayne Rooney was passed fit to play.
That was the verdict of Professor Angus Wallace, who told the player on 7 June that it would not be safe for him to play before 20 June, the last Group B match against Sweden. The orthopaedic surgeon flew to Nuremberg on Wednesday, along with Professor Chris Moran, a specialist in fracture management, at the invitation of the Football Association to examine the player again.
The two independent advisors said that their visit had been made because "Wayne's recovery has been more rapid than expected over the past week". This was because of "the excellent care" he had received "and because Wayne has worked so hard at his recovery".
The two specialists said their decision had been made without "pressure" from the FA, despite Sven Goran Eriksson's clear intention to make his mind up on Rooney's return date regardless of the surgeons' advice. Professor Wallace and Moran's statement said: "Our sole concern is Wayne's well-being - now and in the future. This morning's evaluation involved examining Wayne, watching him train, studying video footage of him in full contact training over the past two days and discussions with the England medical staff.
"We have also had an extensive discussion with Ivan Carminati, England's fitness coach and Wayne's fitness levels are better now than before Euro 2004. It is clear he has received excellent care and rehabilitation from the Manchester United medical team. This has continued with the England team's medical staff.
"Due to his positive attitude and approach and the care he has received, Wayne has made a more rapid recovery than initially anticipated. The injury has healed and we are satisfied that he is as fit as he can be.
"We have carried out a full risk assessment related to returning him to play at this stage and that assessment has indicated he is at no more risk than any other player who has recovered from an injury and is returning to competitive sport. It is our professional medical opinion that Wayne Rooney is now available to play in the World Cup."
Manchester United later released a statement in which they said that Rooney was now in the care of the FA and that they had been assured the decision was made "with Wayne's welfare as a key consideration".Reuse content