Wayne Rooney jets out to Switzerland as Fabio Capello gambles on striker's mind set

06 September 2010 12:24
Wayne Rooney has jetted out to Switzerland with the rest of the England team despite the allegations about his private life.

Fabio Capello warned that the 24-year-old may not be in the right frame of mind to play in the crucial Euro 2012 qualifier in Basle after it was reported the striker had enjoyed hotel trysts with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant.

Much to ponder: Wayne Rooney boards the plane to Switzerland with the rest of the England team early this morning

However, the Manchester United man met up with the rest of the squad at Luton Airport this morning having had crisis talks with Capello.

Rooney's indifferent form of thelast few months appeared to be consigned to history after hisoutstanding performance against Bulgaria on Friday night. Playingbehind hitman Jermain Defoe, Rooney claimed three assists and was vitalin another goal as England romped to a 4-0 win.

Capello hasn't confirmed whether heintends to select Rooney for what has been billed as England's mostdifficult qualifying game. It is hard to imagine having got Rooney inhis travelling squad that Capello will not pick him.

Touching down: Rooney arrives at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basle

The Italian decided not to call in areplacement for ankle injury victim Michael Dawson as in Phil Jagielka,Gary Cahill, Matthew Upson and Joleon Lescott he already has fourcentre-halves.

In addition, Watford's Scott Loachwill make the journey as third-choice goalkeeper as Scott Carson haswithdrawn due to a family bereavement.

Risky: Capello is unsure over Rooney's mental state after the allegations

Coleen, also 24, was being comforted by her parents after leaving the £4.5million Cheshire mansion she shares with her husband.

A friend said: 'Coleen and Wayne were supposed to attend a family christening this weekend but they didn't show up.'

Controversy: Jennifer Thompson made lurid claims in two Sunday newspapers about the romps

Marketing experts have warned Rooney's £20million sponsorship deals are at risk because much of his appeal is as a family-friendly sports player - an image he and Coleen have built with the help of a team of advisers.

The striker endorses a series of sponsors including Nike, Coca-Cola and the computer game firm EA Sports.

Nigel Currie, director of marketing and sponsorship company Brand Rapport, said: 'Marketing executives at each of these firms will be watching events over the coming days and weeks closely, but they will not pull out of any deal straight away, if at all, because of what has happened.'

This is not the first time Rooney has been caught paying for sex.

In 2004 he was forced to issue a grovelling apology to Coleen after he was found to have visited grandmother and prostitute Patricia Tierney, nicknamed the Auld Slapper.

In his autobiography Rooney described the encounter with the 48-year-old as his greatest regret in life.

He is not among the three England footballers who in the past month have exploited privacy laws to win injunctions banning the reporting of allegations about their private lives.

Meanwhile, Switzerland's London-born defender Scott Sutter admitted he had been following the Rooney reports.

The Young Boys player, who made his international debut against Australia on Friday, thinks Switzerland might be able to profit from the distraction.

'Wayne Rooney is an amazing player,' he said. 'When he's on his game, it is hard for anyone to stop him.

'Butwith these things going on in his private life, it depends how mentallystrong he is and whether he can put it to the back of his mind and playlike the way we know he can.

Hoping for an upset: London-born Scott Sutter hopes his Swiss side don't come up against a fully-functioning Rooney

'I read all the papers online so I have been following what is going on. Obviously, it is a distraction and maybe he will not be as totally focussed on the game.

'We have to hope Wayne Rooney doesn't play as well as he can. But whether something like that will affect him, I don't know, we will see.'

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld also expects his team to be facing an England side containing Rooney on Tuesday.

And the wily German doubts whether off-field worries were a reason for striker's poor World Cup performances.

'I expect Rooney to be on the pitch,' he said. 'Fabio Capello is not able to leave a player of his class out. I am no psychologist but Wayne Rooney is looking sharp and I am sure he will perform well.

'The only reason he didn't do well in the World Cup was that he was injured beforehand and didn't have time to make his fitness up in time for the tournament.'

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Source: Daily_Mail