Ferguson hits out at Eriksson over Rooney

The debate over Wayne Rooney's fitness for the World Cup finals turned nasty last night when Sir Alex Ferguson warned Sven Goran Eriksson that he should stop raising expectations over the injured 20-year-old and described the possibility of him playing in the quarter-finals of the competition as a "wild dream".

After a poor 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough, that leaves Manchester United requiring a win against Charlton on Sunday to be sure of second place over Liverpool, Ferguson went on the attack over the question of Rooney's fitness. The striker is expected to find out today whether he will need an operation to help heal the broken fourth metatarsal of his right foot.

However, after 48 hours of debate over Rooney's recovery prospects, Ferguson criticised the England manager for suggesting the player would be taken to Germany regardless of his fitness. Ferguson's prognosis that Rooney would not be match fit to play in the quarter-final stage of the competition, which begins on 30 June, was the most pessimistic injury bulletin yet.

"We have to make sure we do not build up people's expectation, which is what is happening at the moment," Ferguson said. "Sven Goran Eriksson saying he will take Wayne to Germany fit or not was something we didn't want to hear. We will do our best to get the boy to Germany but if he is not fit, he is not going to go.

"Sven is going on saying he will take the lad and then in six weeks' time he will have another two weeks to get fit to play in the quarter-final of a World Cup. That is a wild dream. All the other players will be extremely fit because they will have been playing and training for the previous two months. Players who are performing on that stage have to be 100 per cent fit.

"Really, it is folly to suggest the boy could be out of the game for six weeks, then two weeks later go and play in the World Cup quarter-final." The Football Association are aware that Ferguson is notoriously sensitive to any suggestion he withholds his players from international duty unnecessarily. On Sunday, Eriksson made an impromptu appearance on television to correct a story that claimed he had said Rooney would be taken to Germany whatever state his foot was in.

"We will do our best to get the boy to Germany but it will be us who will be doing the consulting," Ferguson said. "We have the right people here to make sure this is done properly but we have to try to calm people down." The FA agreed a public position with United on Sunday that they would say Rooney would be given "every chance" to prove his fitness. Eriksson will definitely name him in his squad on Monday but United will reserve the right to take him out up until 5 June when the squad leave for Germany. Ferguson's comments yesterday were a stern warning for Eriksson over who would make the final decision on the player.

While Ferguson realises that his players have a duty to their countries, his attitude towards releasing them for internationals, especially friendlies, can best be described as grudging. Some of his most spectacular eruptions of temper have been when intense interest in a player's fitness for England ­ like David Beckham in 2002 and now Rooney ­ has overshadowed their role for United.

An injured Rooney at the start of next season would be a catastrophe for Ferguson who surely cannot go a fourth consecutive season without a Premiership title. Earlier yesterday, United released a Ferguson interview conducted with their in-house radio station on Sunday when the Scot described the break as a "crippling blow" for England.

"I spoke to Wayne on Saturday evening and he was obviously a bit down, but I told him these things happen," Ferguson said. "You never know but at the moment I doubt that he'll take part [in the World Cup] because of the recovery time." The FA also came under attack from the United manager for trying to appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari as the new England manager ahead of an Englishman. He said: "English coaches have paid £7,000 to get a Uefa licence and they cannot get the England job. That tells the whole story."

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes