Saturday, April 29, 2006
Wayne Rooney for England (vs Switzerland), 17th June 2004
Not bloody metatarsals again.
Was it really four years ago that the nation was fretting over the state of David Beckham's foot after a tackle by Aldo Duscher? That was April 11th 2002, and when England's World Cup kicked off a little over 7 weeks later in Saitama on 2nd June, it was clear that Beckham wasn't really fit enough, and performed significantly below his best for the duration of England's stay in the tournament.
England's campaign for the 2006 World Cup kicks off against Paraguay on 10th June. That's six weeks today - the exact amount of time that the Manchester Utd medical team think is the minimum that Rooney will need to be playing again.
Let's be realistic: it doesn't look good, does it? If Rooney is out, surely England's best chance of winning the World Cup goes with him. We've got one or two other decent players, but he was the one with the magic in his boots, wasn't he?
Could it get any worse? Well, yes. It looks as though Michael Owen is in trouble as well. He was always struggling for fitness with his foot injury (his last proper run of matches was before Christmas), but he left the pitch today complaining of pain in his foot, and if he makes the squad at all, at the very least will be desperately short of fitness and match practice.
What are the odds on either of these players playing a meaningful part in England's World Cup squad? Are England going to be lining up against Paraguay with Peter Crouch and Darren Bent up front? Not to mention the fact that Ledley King is probably out, Ashley Cole has hardly kicked a ball all season and Gary Neville and John Terry both limped out of today's game.
Who said Sven was a lucky manager?
On the plus side, I've got my Panini sticker album up and running, and apart from having about 5 Brian McBrides, I'm doing very nicely thanks.....