Rooney can make it.....so can England
Having suffered from another broken bone in the same foot on Saturday in which he broke a bone during the England v Portugal match in the Euro2004 tournament, Wayne Rooney was exactly six weeks away from England's first World Cup match against Paraguay. That could be enough time for his foot to heal, not so much that he will be able to play in that game. But if Rooney remains on course for recovery, then selecting him for the squad for Germany is good enough, where he can continue recovery and fitness under the national squad's medical staff and potentially come into contention for the last game with Sweden on 20th June.
I don't think pitches and particular boots, or even boots in general, are to blame, otherwise we would have an epidemic of metatarsal injuries. To date the likes of Danny Murphy, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Steven Gerrard, Ledley King, Arjen Robben, and David Nugent of Preston North End have suffered identical injuries. Nugent injured his right foot on March 14 and has been mentioned recently as his diagnosis at the time was he would be out for the reminder of the season, but he was on the bench for Sunday's game, almost seven weeks later.
Eriksson announces his squad on 15th this month, with a preliminary list next week Monday. My choice for Germany:
Wayne Bridge/Paul Konchesky
Wayne Rooney/Marlon Harewood
IF Rooney is considered not suitable to travel, then Marlon Harewood should be considered. I think he has pace, strength and has been in good form for West Ham goals wise. While Jermaine Defoe looked very good last season, this season he has been fazed by the presence of Ahmed Mido and the Egyptian's partnership with Robbie Keane, considered more successful than any other upfront at Spurs. Against Bolton Defoe struggled to get into the game with his talent of pace and eye for the most acute of angles to shoot through, and on occasion couldn't hold up the ball long enough to be a major threat, therefore he is not in my squad.
The usual suspects of David Beckham, Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard appear and all four have been impressive for their teams. Shaun Wright-Phillips could be a doubt for some but we know what he can do and I hope he chooses any opportunity in the tournament to really prove something to Jose Mourinho. Michael Carrick can play a holding role in midfield, pass, tackle and attack, and has been doing that very well for his club. I said before I felt Aaron Lennon's inclusion would be one too soon but in reflection, with Rooney possibly not travelling, Lennon could provide a great option with his pace to race down the wing and cross low for players to tap in, something which our forwards are more than capable of doing.
I have been impressed with Paul Konchesky, although of late he has turned in an average performance. My first choice to deputise for Ashley Cole would automatically be Wayne Bridge but I feel both players are now as good as each other. If pushed, I would go for Bridge. Jamie Carragher is Mr. Versatile and can cover for Gary Neville if need be, so too could Wes Brown. Ledley King still recovers from his broken foot but should be OK by the time June comes. When you mention King, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell, none of these should be left out, and when you add Carragher and Brown into the central defensive equation, England has that area solidly secured, partly why I see we can win it.
Finally, Paul Robinson has established being England's no.1 keeper. Nuff said. David James has had his comical moments but he does have the experience and know-how to pull great saves, though if Chris Kirkland wasn't injured, James would be third choice. That would have rendered Robert Green omitted from the squad. I haven't seen him play to determine his current playability but English keepers in the Premiership are very very limited other than Nigel Martyn (injured or unfit) and Wigan's Mike Pollitt.
This squad is as strong as before, if not stronger. For the first time in a while we have looked to the holding player possibility. Rooney's possible absence is not the be-all and end-all, other players in the squad are very capable of winning matches for us. Instead of looking to one player for mass inspiration, the players should look at the World Cup itself and think about winning it. With Paul Robinson in good form, a marshalled defence with Terry, Campbell and Ferdinand, Carrick to hold with Lampard and Gerrard attacking, Beckham, Lennon, Wright-Phillips and Cole using their skill down the wings, crossing, passing, and Owen, potentially Harewood and Bent put through with Crouch giving good height advantage and touch on the ball, we can give a damn good performance out there.
I think England fail to link up strongly defensively, something they are better at in attack, and as such concede silly goals that an English defence is not renowned for. A number of teams in the competition specialise on the one player who breaks through on the pass, like Thierry Henry who edges on the shoulder of an opposition player and then sprints in time to collect the pass. Rooney is classic at doing this, and in his absence Owen or even Bent can do this too. The only thing with Rooney is he is confident of creating a route for himself pass three players, prepared to take on players, whereas I cannot say the same for any other striker we have. One thing we do too often is play the ball around the opposition's box with no one willing to take the step to strike at goal, as if we are looking for the perfect ball into the box, so we should encourage less passing and more practice on shooting.