Wayne Rooney is being forced out of England’s squad to face Sweden this week after failing to recover from an ankle injury sustained during Manchester United’s victory over Aston Villa.
The 27-year-old striker limped off with the game tied at 2-2 – five minutes before Javier Hernandez broke Villa hearts to snatch a dramatic comeback win – and will not meet up with Roy Hodgson’s team.
Hodgson’s highest scoring striker available has been replaced by Championship youngster Wilfried Zaha – who joins fellow winger-cum-striker Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck as the team’s only forwards.
A club spokesman said: “Wayne Rooney has withdrawn from England’s squad to face Sweden this week after collecting an ankle injury in Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Aston Villa on Saturday.”
Immediately after the game Rooney was treated by medical staff as Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to wait on his state – but it may have come as a sigh of relief for the Scot who admitted he is struggling to juggle his striking selection.
“Rooney got an ankle knock and he’s got some ice on it,” Sir Alex told Sky Sports after the game. “We’ll see what it’s like tomorrow.”
Welbeck will be accompanied by teammates Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley as Michael Carrick failed to reprise his role in midfield.
And Manchester City’s only representative is perhaps the most important inclusion as Joe Hart prepares to join up for the trip to Sweden on Wednesday.