Tuesday 24 October 2017

Rooney still in Capello plans

Jason Burt

Fabio Capello has not yet ruled out including Wayne Rooney in his forthcoming England squad, but there will be no place for his fellow Manchester United striker, Michael Owen, regardless. Instead, England are likely to turn to Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Even though Alex Ferguson has indicated that Rooney needs two to three weeks to recover from his latest ankle injury, Capello is understood to believe that there may still be time for the player to recover in time to face Montenegro on October 12.

It is unlikely that Capello will exercise his right to have Rooney examined by the English FA's own medical team when he names his squad on Monday. Instead, he will expect them to liaise closely with the United doctors over the state of Rooney's injury, which he aggravated in Sunday's draw at Bolton.

Capello is understood to believe there is no reason to simply accept what has been said by United about Rooney -- whose frame of mind also needs to be assessed after his personal problems -- especially several days before he has to name his squad.

Despite Owen returning to fitness and scoring three goals in his last two appearances for United, it is believed that Capello would regard selecting the 30-year-old as a backward step even though there is a striker shortage.

Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora are injured and Emile Heskey has retired from international football. Peter Crouch and Darren Bent can expect to be included. Agbonlahor is likely to be given his chance but there is concern over a calf injury.

Andy Carroll, of Newcastle, who Capello considered including in the senior squad, is needed by the U-21s for a crucial play-off against Romania.

Capello may consider using Theo Walcott as a makeshift striker, while Bent's form -- he scored against Switzerland -- would suggest he may start. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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