England picked Wayne Rooney in fear of upset, says Monetengro coach

07 October 2010 08:25
Montenegro have upped the ante ahead of next Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifying clash at Wembley, claiming England were forced to pick Wayne Rooney in fear of defeat.

The Manchester United striker has been sidelined for two weeks with an ankle problem and had been a doubt to make Fabio Capello's squad.

But Montenegro coach Zlatko Kranjcar, who like Capello has guided his side to wins from their first two Group G games, believes England had no chance but to pick Rooney because they are scared of a potential upset.

Running scared: Montenegro believe Wayne Rooney was only called upon because England fear an upset

'It is a sign of how our two wins at the beginning of the qualifications raised our ratings,' said Kranjcar.

'Capello is aware that we have a good team and called for Rooney as he wants to leave nothing to chance.'

The former Croatia coach, and father of Tottenham midfielder Niko Kranjcar, says Capello is mindful of England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 when they were infamously beaten under the reign of Steve McClaren by his compatriots and that his Montenegro side boost a similar Balkan threat next week.

'It is possible, too, that the English have the defeat by Croatia in their memory, and now have more caution entering the matches against teams from the region,' he said.

While England opened up their campaign with  wins over Bulgaria and Switzerland, Montenegro were the early surprise package in the group after beating Wales and Bulgaria, results that have given them plenty of confidence ahead of Tuesday.

Winning feeling: Montenegro are full of confidence after their opening Group G wins over Wales and Bulgaria

'The two victories have significantly raised our confidence,' added FK Partizan defender Stefan Savic, speaking ahead of Friday's qualifier against Switzerland.

'The atmosphere is great and we definitely should seize this moment. It will be difficult, we face dangerous opponents, but we have a great opportunity before us.'

Monetnegro could arrive in London next week at the top of Group G and Savic has urged his team-mates to kick off their double-header with a win against the Swiss.

He said: 'We have six points from two matches, we are at home and we are thinking about winning, which would bring us a lot closer to the play-offs and allow us to travel to London without pressure.'

Capello, meanwhile, will welcome his squad on Thursday evening from their short three-day breaks when the England team convene at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire ahead of Friday's first training session at Arsenal's London Colney training HQ.

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Source: Daily_Mail