Monday 19 March 2018

Rooney allays England fears over his fitness for World Cup

Henry Winter

WAYNE ROONEY, who was last night named PFA Player of the Year, has allayed fears over his fitness for the World Cup by declaring he will return for Manchester United’s potentially decisive final Premier League game of the season against Stoke City.

The Manchester United striker was rushed back from his ankle injury, caused by what the club describe as “fatigue’’, and tweaked his groin in training. He missed Saturday’s victory over Tottenham, with manager Alex Ferguson suggesting in the aftermath that he would be missing for “two or three weeks”.

But those fears have now been allayed, with Rooney confirming last night that he expects to have recovered in time for the meeting with Stoke at Old Trafford on May 9, a game that could yet determine the outcome of this season’s Premier League title race.

The striker has also reassured England’s general manager, Franco Baldini, that he will be fully fit for South Africa.

“I’ll be fine for the World Cup,” he said. “In fact, I’ll be fine for the Stoke game.”

That news will be a relief both to Ferguson and Fabio Capello, who has been anxiously monitoring his striker’s fitness ever since he suffered the ankle injury in the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Rooney, meanwhile, has been rewarded for his exceptional form this season with the PFA award, after he was announced as the runaway winner last night.

The forward has enjoyed an outstanding season and the summer departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid gave him the platform for his full array of skills to blossom.

Rooney, who helped United win the Carling Cup, has scored 34 goals for the club this season, his best ever tally for a single season.

Rooney’s only disappointment last night was his failure to win the Young Player of the Year award, for which he was also nominated. Instead, the honour went to James Milner, whose excellent displays for Aston Villa have also drawn the eye of Capello. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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