Vol. 5 Num 698 Wed. May 17, 2006  

'Fitness first for Rooney'

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced fears over Wayne Rooney being fit for next season if he plays in the World Cup without being fully fit.

Rooney was on Monday named in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 23-man England squad for the World Cup finals despite having a broken bone in his foot.

David Beckham suffered a similar injury prior to the 2002 World Cup, and the midfield icon appeared to be a long way off full fitness.

England management are pulling out all the stops to get Rooney back in time, including using an oxygen chamber which is supposed to speed up recovery.

However despite Rooney making some progress, Ferguson feels it could be a big mistake taking an unfit Rooney to Germany.

Ferguson told MUTV: "You cannot take anyone half-fit to a World Cup, I think that happened with David Beckham.

"We have assisted Wayne. He didn't enjoy the oxygen chamber but tried it."

He added: "A lot of people might think I am selfish but Wayne is the most important player in the team at Manchester United.

"We have to ensure the boy is going to be fit at the start of the season for us, so we all become selfish in that respect.

"England are selfish and Manchester United are selfish because they want the best for their operation."

Ferguson also mocked claims that using an oxygen chamber would do the job.

"They have not got conclusive evidence the oxygen chamber actually works but there is nothing against it.

"Everything is worth trying and that is what we are doing with Wayne.

"He is in good hands. He has got the boot off and he is walking normally now, which is good news.

"So you never know, but I certainly think it is very important for the boy not to go half-fit, or even three-quarters fit, and not do himself or England justice."