Fabio Capello has warned Wayne Rooney that there is no guarantee he will automatically come back into the England team after his ban at Euro 2012 — and said the Manchester United striker will not start in friendlies in the build-up to the tournament.
Just an hour after Friday’s tie with Montenegro, the England boss revealed he had already decided Rooney would be in the squad — but not in the team — when Spain visit Wembley for their marquee friendly on November 12.
Rooney's sending off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic in the 2-2 draw in Podgorica means that he will be banned for a minimum of one game, possibly more, at the finals leaving Capello with eight months and potentially five friendlies to find an alternative.
Uefa will today announce the date on which it will hear Rooney's case with the expectation that session will be held on November 17.
German referee Wolfgang Stark has said that he believes Rooney could treated leniently by Uefa because he left the field quickly, though the three-man panel's decision will be based on Rooney's foul.
Uefa's statutory one-game ban will be extended to two if the challenge is considered to be an “assault” by the player, though the Football Association would appeal any such move.
“I need to find the solution for the first game or two games that Rooney would have played,” said Capello. “And then, if we find a solution, he needs to work to return to the first XI. Absolutely. I've got 23 players.”
Asked whether he could leave out a player of Rooney's standing — when he is fit and available —Capello said: “In my life as a manager I have put on the bench a lot of good players. I always decided who was for me the best player at that moment.”
Capello denied that he had made a mistake in selecting Rooney just one day after the player's father was arrested over alleged spot-fixing in football, but added: “Rooney will not play against Spain. Absolutely.
“There will be new players and a new style and different movement.” Asked whether Rooney would start any friendly before next June, Capello joked: “He will be fresh.”
The England manager added: “Sometimes [Rooney] will come on at half-time. Not from the start. We need to prepare the first XI. I have got a lot of forwards at this moment.
“Those I did not select are playing really well.
“I saw the game that [Jermain] Defoe played and he played really well, ran a lot, pressed a lot. [Daniel] Sturridge is the same.”
Meanwhile, Capello’s side has been criticised by former England defender Gary Neville, who does not believe the team is good enough to win Euro 2012.
He argued: “The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough, as it stands, to take on Spain, Italy, France or Germany at Euro 2012.
“When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.”