Fergie: I do want Rooney to play in finals

Last updated at 14:13 26 May 2006


Sir Alex Ferguson insists he does want Wayne Rooney to go to the World Cup with England.

Despite his widely-publicised worries over the 20-year-old being rushed back to action before he is 100 per cent fit, Ferguson has agreed to release Rooney when the remainder of Sven-Goran Eriksson's 23-man squad head to Germany on June 5.

The Manchester United forward will spend 10 days on non-football training before returning to England on June 14 for a second scan which will determine whether he can play any part in the World Cup.

And, despite previously suggesting thoughts of Rooney playing in Germany were no more than 'a pipe-dream' Ferguson is adamant he wants to see his young star on the field.

"The most damaging thing which has been said is that we (Manchester United) do not want Wayne Rooney to go," Ferguson told MUTV.

"If there is one player I want to play in the World Cup, it is him."

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ENGLAND: Foster responds to call

Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster will fly back from Dubai to join the England World Cup squad following last night's injury to Robert Green.

Foster - who helped Watford to promotion to the Barclays Premiership while on loan at Vicarage Road in the recently-concluded season - has been named on the stand-by list after Liverpool keeper Scott Carson's promotion to the main squad as a result of Norwich's Green sustaining a serious groin injury in the England B team's 2-1 defeat by Belarus.

Foster will fly back from his holiday tomorrow before linking up with Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad for training at United's Carrington headquarters on Sunday.

BRAZIL: Concerns over Ronaldo fitness

Brazil are keeping their fingers crossed that star striker Ronaldo will be fully fit in time for the team's World Cup opener against Croatia on June 13.

The Real Madrid ace struggled in training on Thursday in Weggis, Switzerland, where Brazil are preparing for the World Cup.

"I'm having muscular pains but any sacrifice is worthy for the national team," he said.

Brazil boss Carlos Alberto Parreira said: "He is motivated and we're doing everything so the team will be at the top level after the third World Cup match."

SPAIN: Capdevila on stand-by for injured Del Horno

Deportivo La Coruna defender Joan Capdevila is ready to replace Asier del Horno in the Spanish national team should the Chelsea player fail a fitness test on Monday.

Del Horno picked up leg injury this week and his World Cup is now in jeopardy.

The 25-year-old will undergo further tests to confirm the extent of the damage but is expected to be out of action for at last three weeks.

"I am ready," said Capdevila.

"If the national coach Luis Aragones calls me up on Monday, I will go.

"However, my wish is that Asier recovers and goes to Germany."

ARGENTINA: Crespo eager to make World Cup impact

Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo is desperate to show his true form for Argentina at the World Cup in Germany.

"I want to show more than I did in the last two World Cups," said 30-year-old Crespo, who inherited the number nine shirt worn by Gabriel Batistuta.

"In 1998, it was my first time, there was a bit of pressure, everything was new and we had some problems with press.

"And again in 2002, unfortunately, we didn't have enough time as we came back home after the group stage.

"This World Cup will be different for me. After those experiences, I can enjoy more the fact of belonging to the national team and I think I'll be able to play a good World Cup."

HOLLAND: No jokers in the pack for Holland

He may yet win the World Cup but coach Marco van Basten admits the team will win no awards for their sense of humour as they prepare for the tournament in Germany.

Van Basten has instituted a novel disciplinary system whereby, instead of fining players, culprits are made to tell a joke if they break team rules.

"We thought about handing out fines," said Van Basten.

"But you can't hit these players in their wallet.

"No one likes to be made a fool of, and that is how you feel when you have to tell a joke in front of 22 other players plus the others.

"And that is why we have chosen for this option. And so far we haven't heard a joke, that's good, isn't it?"

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