Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Capello Keeps Eye on Rooney

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Capello Keeps Eye on Rooney

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON STONE

FABIO Capello will have the final say over Wayne Rooney's presence for England's friendly against Spain next week, writes SIMON STONE.

Capello wanted a meeting with the Euro 2008 winners to measure how far the Three Lions have progressed as he starts his second year in charge and, in an ideal world, would have his first-choice side available to face Fernando Torres and company.

However, Steven Gerrard has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury, while Theo Walcott and Joe Cole are sidelined by shoulder and knee problems respectively, so Capello is without three main men, leaving him to decide whether it is worth taking Rooney on the trip anyway.

The Manchester United striker is expected to return from his own hamstring injury at West Ham tomorrow, 24 hours after Capello names his squad.

However, instead of the starting role Rooney had hoped for, he will be restricted to a substitutes' slot at best as this week's cold snap has restricted Man United to a lighter training schedule than they might have imagined.

Sir Alex Ferguson intends to speak with Capello to offer an insight into the player's condition.

However, as a sign of the thaw in relations between England and Man United that, in fairness, began with Steve McClaren and has continued under Capello, a man Ferguson respects enormously, he will let his Italian counterpart make the final decision.

"I hope to speak with Fabio later today to explain the situation," revealed Ferguson.

"Then he can have a dialogue with his physios and ours about whether it is worth taking him to Seville.

"Whether he is able to play in the game at this moment in time or just as a substitute, I don't know. In that sense, Fabio is in exactly the same position as I am.

"But it is entirely up to Fabio. I have no strong objections."

As Capello has previously stated, he will not pick anyone who has not been playing recently, the odds are on Rooney being left out. …

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