Former England captain Terry Butcher says coach Sven-Goran Eriksson should not take Wayne Rooney to the World Cup. Eriksson is prepared to gamble on the Manchester United striker’s fitness, even after he broke a bone in his foot in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat by Chelsea.
But Butcher told BBC Sport:
“I wouldn’t take him. It would be a huge gamble. Even if he did play a part in the latter stages, with the injury he would only be a shadow of the Rooney we know. He would only be taking up a place.”
Butcher, who is now manager of Scottish Premier League outfit Motherwell, admitted the injury is a devastating blow to England’s plans:
“It’s sickening. When people were talking about whether the news that Eriksson was going would affect England’s World Cup plans, I said they should not worry about that – the only thing that would affect them would be an injury to Rooney. There has been a lot of gloomy talk – and rightly so. He is our one gem, who can transform matches or change games in the blink of an eye. I wouldn’t take him because in 2002 all the talk was about David Beckham’s injury. It might take a lot of pressure away from the other players because there will be so much hype and pressure on Wayne Rooney, who I feel will actually have no part to play for England in the tournament, but I wouldn’t take him. You have got to have really fit players out there because the demands on the players are extraordinary. I don’t see him being fit enough after six weeks out injured. In reality you are talking about six weeks out, plus another four or five after that. The last time he had an injury like this in Euro 2004 he was out for 12 or 13 weeks.”
Butcher also added that Manchester United‘s concerns must be taken into consideration in the rush to get Rooney fit for this summer’s tournament in Germany.
“United will be watching this very closely. What they don’t want is their prize asset going out to Germany, maybe pushing himself very hard to play in a World Cup, and then ending up putting himself out of the start of next season. It is a huge year for them and they want to have Wayne Rooney fit right from the start, which is perfectly understandable.“
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