LONDON, Apr 30 (Reuters) Wayne Rooney will be taken to the World Cup if there is any chance he can play in the finals, England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has told Sky Sports.
He was reported to have said today that the injured Manchester United striker will go to Germany if doctors give him a chance of being fit to play at some stage in the tournament.
The 20-year-old could miss England's first two World Cup matches because of the foot fracture he suffered at Chelsea yesterday, a sports injury specialist has said.
However, fears that Rooney's strike partner Michael Owen might also be a serious doubt for the finals starting in 40 days' time on June 9 were allayed.
''I'd doubt very much if Rooney makes the first game or even the second game,'' expert Roger Robertson told the BBC today.
''I would say seven weeks. From five weeks onwards just build up the exercise and see how it goes.'' Rooney broke a bone in his right foot late in the 3-0 defeat at Chelsea and United said he would be out for six weeks.
England face Paraguay on June 10, Trinidad&Tobago on June 15 and Sweden on June 20 in Group B at the World Cup.
Owen, 26, had tests today on the foot injury he suffered four months ago and they showed there was no damage after his uncomfortable comeback for Newcastle United yesterday.
Media commentators said England defender John Terry would be out for 10 days after the Chelsea captain also suffered a foot injury in the title-decider at Stamford Bridge where his club were crowned champions for the second year in a row.
DIMINSHED CHANCES The general consensus among pundits speaking to the British media today was that without Rooney, England's chances of World Cup victory were greatly reduced.
''It's depressingly sad. Without Rooney, I think we have gone from possible World Cup winners to outsiders,'' former England manager Bobby Robson told the BBC.
''We can't replace Rooney, I don't think there's another player like him in the country... there's hardly another player like him in Europe,'' added Robson, who steered England to the 1990 World Cup semi-finals in Italy.
''The people who win World Cups are individuals, your top individuals.'' MORE REUTERS DH RK0100