Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injured Strike Stars Put Sven in a Spin

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injured Strike Stars Put Sven in a Spin

Article excerpt

Byline: By Matt Barlow

World Cup plan now in tatters

Sven-Goran Eriksson and the Football Association spent yesterday consulting with their medical experts about England's injured strikers.

Eriksson's World Cup plans were blown out of the water when Wayne Rooney broke a bone in his foot on Saturday and Michael Owen complained of a problem on his comeback from a similar injury.

There was a positive update on Owen from Newcastle, but Rooney faces an anxious wait to see how quickly his foot heals. The FA needed a distraction from their search for Eriksson's successor after last week's farce when first-choice Luiz Felipe Scolari suddenly decided he did not want the job.

But they did not want a problem like this, less than six weeks before England's World Cup opener against Paraguay on June 10. Manchester United's first assessment of Rooney's injury, sustained in a 3-0 defeat against Chelsea, was that he would be out for at least six weeks.

England doctor Leif Sward was at Stamford Bridge and was able to examine the injury before Rooney returned to Manchester. Sward has kept in close contact with the Red Devils' medical team and Eriksson spoke to both Rooney and Owen yesterday.

Eriksson, who watched Spurs beat Bolton yesterday, has made no secret about the value of Rooney to his team and will wait as long as possible before ruling him out. The Swede admitted last month he might be tempted to include Rooney even if he was struggling with an injury.

Asked about taking unfit players to Germany, the England boss said: "I will take it case by case. If Rooney has a small problem for example you would still take him. What alternative do you have?

"If you have a centre-half who might not be ready you can take another one but can you find another Rooney?" The bookmakers do not rate Rooney's chances of beating the curse of the metatarsal. He is odds-on to miss England's entire World Cup campaign. …

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