Fri, May 05, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Rooney needs 'miracle' to make it to World Cup

DPA AND AFP , LONDON

Striker Wayne Rooney needs "a miracle" to make the soccer World Cup because he has broken more bones in his foot than originally believed, England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Wednesday.

Eriksson said that he will not drop Rooney until doctors tell him he can't play at all at the June 9-July 9 finals in Germany. But the Sun daily reported that England coaches were working on a plan B scenario without Rooney, and attack partner Michael Owen was also not in fully certain of playing.

Rooney, 20, suffered the injury during Manchester United's first-division game at Chelsea last Saturday, with the initial diagnosis one fractured metartarsal.

The larger extent of the injury in his right foot was revealed at a second scan on Tuesday.

"I knew yesterday that he had more than one fracture. Miracles happen in life now and then, but I don't really know," Eriksson said.

Eriksson told reporters that he would know more on the issue when England and Manchester United doctors were to meet yesterday to discuss Rooney's chances of making the finals.

Eriksson reiterated that he plans to nominate Rooney into his preliminary squad on May 8 and would only drop him if doctors fully ruled out his participation in Germany.

"I will not rule him out until the doctors tell me there is no chance," he said.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said yesterday that Rooney will use an oxygen chamber in a bid to boost his chances of playing in next month's World Cup finals in Germany.

Although Ferguson has been scathing of Eriksson's approach, saying it placed too much pressure upon Rooney, he promised the club would do everything possible to help the striker, with an oxygen chamber at their Carrington training complex being the latest development.

England's first match is on June 10 against Paraguay. The other group B opponents are Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago in the following 10 days, with possible further matches in the knockout stages.

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