Capello waiting for news on Rooney
England coach Fabio Capello was awaiting an update on Wayne Rooney's latest injury problem on Monday, one day before he has to send his provisional World Cup squad to FIFA.
Rooney limped off the field toward the end of Manchester United's final Premier League game against Stoke on Sunday.
United manager Alex Ferguson said it was a recurrence of the groin injury the striker hurt in training on April 22 although he said he believed Rooney would still make it to the World Cup.
The problem for Capello, however, is that he has several more players either injured, in danger of breaking down at any time, or only recently back from long-term problems just as the manager begins the long buildup to the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa.
The Italian has placed great importance on the team winning its opening game against its main group rival United States on day two of the championship and that is why all these injury woes could upset his preparations.
"To get a result in the first game is so important," he said. "If you win the first game and get the three points it is really good for the team psychologically and also for the group table."
Capello has until midnight Tuesday to send his provisional squad of 30 to FIFA and then has to trim that to a final 23 players for the World Cup by June 1.
The England manager spent much of Monday attending events at Wembley and the London Stock Exchange and is due to hold a briefing with reporters on Tuesday to discuss his squad and injury headaches.
Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry, who appeared to be a certainty to go to the championship before his injury in last week's game against Tottenham, has been ruled out for three more weeks with ankle ligament damage.
That means he will miss World Cup warmup games against Mexico and Japan and training camps at altitude in Austria.
World Cup veterans David Beckham and Michael Owen were ruled out several weeks ago because of injuries and - in Owen's case - a lack of form.
Rio Ferdinand, who is set to be England's captain at the World Cup, has a problem with his lower back which flares up repeatedly and has caused him to miss many of Man United's games this season.
Ledley King, a likely backup for Ferdinand, has such problems with his knees that he barely trains and usually misses every other game for Tottenham. That would make him a liability at the World Cup where teams play every five days.
Joleon Lescott has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since March but there is good news for Capello that Ashley Cole is back after breaking his ankle and scored in the last game of the season in Chelsea's 8-0 demolition of Wigan which clinched the Premier League title.
Wayne Bridge, who was expected to be Cole's backup, has ruled himself out, however, deciding to quit playing for England after reports that teammate John Terry had an affair with his ex-girlfriend. It was the massive publicity that followed those allegations that prompted Capello to take the captaincy away from Terry.
With so many defensive problems to solve, Capello may even consider recalling Jamie Carragher at the age of 32, with reports suggesting that the Liverpool defender is now willing to end his three-year international retirement.
Aaron Lennon is fully fit after another long spell out with a groin injury and Capello has the luxury of choosing from several players on the right of midfield despite the absence of Los Angeles Galaxy star Beckham.
By contrast, he is struggling to find a consistent goalkeeper and the right strike partner for Rooney, while the likes of Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey and Theo Walcott have struggled to find any form in the last few weeks of the season. - AP
Published May 10 2010