Platinum Stars' defender promises not hurting 'lion' Rooney during WC warm-up game

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Cape Town, June 7(ANI): South African club side Platinum Stars' defender Mbulelo "Old John" Mabizela, has promised that he wont hurt England striker Wayne Rooney during their World Cup warm-up game today.

England play Platinum Stars, with the squad still reeling from the loss of skipper Rio Ferdinand, who has been ruled out of the tournament with a freak knee injury.

"Rooney is your lion. I promise not to do anything to hurt him. England need to keep him fit if they want to win the World Cup," The Sun quoted Mabizela, as saying.

"I am looking forward to playing against him, but I know there is big pressure because the whole of England will be holding their breath and praying he is OK."

"He is an amazing footballer - one of the best in the world, if not the best - and I don't want to do anything that might keep him out of the World Cup. England have already lost Beckham and now their captain Rio Ferdinand. It would be a disaster if anyone else got injured, especially Rooney," he added.

Stars coach Steve Komphela has also ordered his players to avoid any bone-crunching tackles.

"We are not going to go easy, Capello wants a competitive match, but I have said I don't want any risky challenges. The most important thing is that all the England players are fit for their first match," Komphela said.

"At the same time they want a good workout. We will try hard, but not take any risks. If any of my players do then I will be straight on the pitch and they will have me to deal with. Fabio Capello is one of my idols - I want to shake his hand and wish him all the best and I want my team to make me proud," he added.

Earlier, despite the Ferdinand incident, England manager Fabio Capello had vowed not to wrap his team in cotton wool. (ANI)

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