|The World Cup is the greatest prize in football
English hopes for World Cup success have suffered a serioussetbackwith the news thatstrikerWayne Rooney has broken a bone in his foot.
20-year-old Rooney collapsedin agonyafter a harmless-lookingtackleduring Saturday’s Premiership game between Chelsea and Manchester United. He was strapped on toa stretcherand carried offthe pitchto the applause of concerned fans of both sides.
Tests revealed that he hasfracturedthe fourthmetatarsalon his right foot; an injury that will prevent him from playing for at least six weeks. The timing of this injury could not be worse given that England must play their first World Cup game against Paraguay on June 10th.
It seems highly unlikely that the Manchester United player will be fit in time for that match. And some experts think it will be impossible for him to play at all.
One person who does believe that Rooney canmake an impactin the World Cup is the England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. On Saturday he told reporters, “Wayne is aworld-classplayer and we will give him every chance to play in the World Cup; with such ahuge talentyou have to do that.”
However, Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, takes a lesssanguineview. Ferguson responded to Eriksson’s comments by saying, “We will do our best to get the boy to Germany but if he is notfit, he is not going to go.”
Ferguson explained thetreatmenthis young star-player will receive, “Wayne will bein plasterfor the next few weeks and he’ll be having regularscansto see how it ishealing.” But he also admitted that the injury is a “crippling blow” for the English team.
However, not all isdoom and gloomin the English camp. Michael Owen, another important English striker who broke his foot in January, has returned to play for his domestic team, Newcastle United.
On Sunday Newcastle’s manager described Owen as “very close to being 100%” – a comment that makes it seem likely he will bematch-fitby June.