Fitness specialist warns against coach's plan of rushing Rooney

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Daniel Taylor

BADEN-BADEN: The fitness specialist who has been working with Wayne Rooney has recommended to Sven-Goran Eriksson that he does not rush the striker's comeback. Ivan Carminati has informed Eriksson that Rooney is only 70 per cent match-fit going into Thursday's game against Trinidad & Tobago, although the England coach is still understood to be giving serious consideration to using him as a substitute.

Carminati believes it could be another week before Rooney is fully fit although he has also reported that the player is not suffering any after-effects as he enthusiastically throws himself back into full- contact training following his rehabilitation from a fractured metatarsal.

Eriksson has informed Rooney that he would like him to come on late in the game, although nothing will be ratified until he has discussed the matter with his medical staff.

"After a serious injury it is always better not to rush. We have to be 100 per cent sure of his recovery. It would not be wise to risk an aggravation of his condition," Carminati said in an interview with an Italian television station.

Carminati has been guiding Rooney through intensive one-on-one sessions but the former Lazio fitness coach appears to have misgivings about playing him only eight days after his decisive hospital scan, a timescale of recovery that Sir Alex Ferguson and the medics at Manchester United have made clear they would consider a reckless gamble.

There were suggestions that Football Association's chief executive Brian Barwick was also concerned about rushing Rooney back and, specifically, the repercussions if he were to play and get injured. Fearing another row with United, he has reputedly expressed his concerns to Eriksson, although it would not be his style to try to dictate which players should be chosen or left out.

Eriksson's mindset will be swayed by events on the pitch in a match that could see England qualify for the knockout phase, with the final Group B game against Sweden still to come.

Intriguingly, Trinidad coach Leo Beenhakker said he wanted to see Rooney play against his team. "I hope Wayne can play. You have to see the great players at the World Cup. I hope he's ready for part of the game. As a fan of football I'm looking forward to seeing him," he said.

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

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