Wayne Rooney not ready for full England duty

06 February 2009 08:51
Having missed the last five league and cup games with a hamstring injury, Rooney's recovery has been sufficient enough to put himself in contention for a place on the substitutes' bench at West Ham on Sunday.

With Capello due to name his squad tonight for England's first game of 2009, Ferguson spoke with the Italian yesterday afternoon to explain Rooney's progress. It appears increasingly likely that the 23-year-old, who has scored five times in his last three starts for England, will be asked to represent his country at some point against the European champions.

Having stressed that Rooney was not yet ready to start a game, Ferguson said that he was happy to leave it to Capello whether it was worth taking the player to Spain to make a brief appearance.

"The only thing I can do is explain the situation as the physios describe it," Ferguson said. "He's not ready to start the game. That's the area where there has to be a decision, whether it's worth taking him out to Spain and playing him for maybe 25 minutes. It's entirely up to Fabio."

The statistics might show that United have not missed Rooney. Ferguson's team have won all five games he has missed, scoring 13 goals in the process. Yet Ferguson believes the return of a fully-fit Rooney will provide United with a significant boost as they chase a third successive Premier League title.

Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans are also close to returns, while Nani is available to face West Ham after being ruled out of the last three games with a groin strain.

"Bit by bit they are coming back," added Ferguson, whose team start the weekend with a two-point advantage at the top of the table and with a game in hand.

"When we have all these players back I will have a lot of selection problems. It's not going to be easy but I'll be glad to have them, and I think I'll have them within the next two weeks."

With the FA Cup fifth round looming, Ferguson is demanding his players sign off from Premier League duty by ending their recent poor record in London. Not only have they been defeated on their last two visits to Upton Park, United have won just

once in nine attempts in the capital.

"It happens," Ferguson said, "but we have had some good runs down there as well."



Source: Telegraph