WAYNE Rooney asked to train with the Manchester United reserves yesterday in a bid to get himself fit for England’s match against Scotland.
Hamstring and shoulder injuries mean Chelsea target Rooney has yet to play a competitive match for United this summer, but yesterday he was included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for Wednesday’s friendly international at Wembley.
The 27-year-old will not play in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial against Seville tonight and United manager David Moyes conceded earlier this week that it was unlikely the striker would be available for Sunday’s Community Shield match against Wigan. But given that his attacking options have already been reduced by injuries to Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge, Hodgson would like Rooney to play at least some part against Scotland.
The England manager said yesterday that he would have to carefully assess Rooney’s fitness over the weekend before deciding whether to give him a run-out against the Scots.
To boost his chances of featuring, Rooney, who has been the subject of two unsuccessful bids by Chelsea, trained with the United reserve team yesterday.
It had been claimed that training with United’s second string was further evidence of a worsening relationship with the Old Trafford club. However, in this instance that is thought not to be the case, with the player himself keen to underline the development was at his request, which could yet assist him in appearing against Scotland.
Hodgson says he has Moyes’ blessing in calling Rooney up for England’s first meeting against Scotland in 14 years.
“I have spoken to David and he understands it is important to have Wayne with us and Wayne himself of course wants to be a part of the England set-up coming into these important games,” Hodgson said.
“It might not be ideal. He hasn’t played the minutes we would have liked during pre-season, but it is very good that he is going to be available to join us. Maybe he can play an hour. It would be foolish of me to say that is our intention because when we meet up with him we will have to take a judgment call on that.”
England’s squad will meet at St George’s Park on Sunday night ahead of the game against Gordon Strachan’s side, and Hodgson also included Rickie Lambert and Wilfried Zaha in his party.
Lambert, whose inclusion came on the same day his partner gave birth to a daughter named Bella Rose, was released on a free transfer by Blackpool 13 years ago and then went on to play for a series of Football League sides such as Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before signing for Southampton.
Hodgson considered signing the 31-year-old when he was manager of Fulham after watching him play against the west London team for Bristol Rovers. The England manager respects Lambert for making it to the top after such a long journey.
Hodgson added: “What really impressed me about him is that this is a man who has come up the hard way starting in non-league. He is a man who has worked hard to prove himself over all these years and deserves his call-up at a time when a couple of players like Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll, who might have got the nod ahead of him, are unavailable.”
Lambert said: “It’s been a special day. I was obviously already over the moon about the birth of my daughter – she was born at half-past-four this morning, and she’s doing fine and so is the mother. And I’m absolutely delighted to be involved with England. It’s the dream I’ve been fighting for and hoping for all my life.”
Sturridge misses out with an ankle injury he suffered against the Republic of Ireland in May while West Ham striker Carroll is absent because of a heel injury. Jermain Defoe has been included in the 25-man squad despite a hamstring injury he suffered against Monaco last Saturday.