Spotlight on Rooney

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson

LONDON. — England soccer manager Roy Hodgson will hope his side can banish the Wayne Rooney transfer sideshow from the sports pages by beating their oldest rivals Scotland in tonight’s friendly at Wembley. The build-up to the game has been dominated by speculation about the Manchester United striker, whose club manager David Moyes lost his patience when quizzed about Rooney’s future by reporters after Sunday’s Community Shield.

The subject of two unsuccessful bids from Chelsea, Rooney has not played in any of United’s pre-season games due to hamstring and shoulder injuries, but Hodgson says he is “physically fit” to face the Scots. Given his lack of match fitness, it seems unlikely that the 27-year-old will be able to manage much more than a cameo, and Hodgson must also show care with some of his other first-team stars.

Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and captain Steven Gerrard are all returning after injury, and with the Premier League season beginning on Saturday, avoiding further injuries will be a key consideration.

Wilshere has made just one England start since 2011, brilliantly marshalling the midfield in England’s 2-1 defeat of Brazil in February, and Hodgson is delighted to have the Arsenal man at his disposal again. — AFP.

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