Belfast Telegraph

Capello considers leaving Rooney out of Euro finals

By Sam Wallace

Fabio Capello is now weighing up whether he will include Wayne Rooney in his squad for the European Championship next summer after the Football Association was hit with the calamitous news yesterday that England's best player will be banned from all three group games.

The England manager and his camp were of the mind to wait until they see Uefa's official reasons for coming to its judgement on giving Rooney a three-match ban for kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic before they decide whether to appeal.

In a brief statement yesterday, Uefa described Rooney's actions on Friday that led to his red card as an “assault”.

In the aftermath of the decision from Uefa, the original position in the Capello camp that leaving Rooney behind was not even a consideration has now shifted.

Capello has more than seven months and three friendlies before he names his provisional squad for Euro 2012 but it is understood that, for the first time since Friday's red card, leaving out Rooney is an option on the table.

Chief among Capello's concerns will be that, if Manchester United do not make it to the Champions League or FA Cup final, then Rooney could well go from his club's last Premier League game against Sunderland on May 13, to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 which begin on June 21, potentially without starting a single competive game.

The two friendlies before the tournament starts will be crucial for Capello to try out different formations.

Over the last year, Capello has frozen out Peter Crouch, the only striker with a comparable goalscoring record to Rooney. Andy Carroll has failed to live up to early expectations.

Darren Bent has scored four in the last five internationals and looks the most likely to be asked to step up.

As for Michael Owen, the England manager has not picked him since his second game in charge back in March 2008.

The three-match ban was far more severe than the FA had anticipated and they face the very real possibility that England could be out of the tournament before Rooney has even played.

Before the announcement there was optimism at the FA that it had put together a strong case for leniency with the dispensation it sent to Nyon for the hearing.

Having originally planned to appeal if the ban was more than the minimum one game, the FA is now reconsidering that strategy. The governing body was last night investigating the possibility that the player could be punished with an even longer ban if Uefa rejects the appeal.

The FA itself extends domestic bans for what it judges to be “frivolous” appeals by clubs.

The FA expects to receive Uefa's “written reasons” for the judgement, carried out by Uefa's control and disciplinary body, within the next two days.

Once it is in receipt of these it has three days to decide whether to lodge an appeal. Those reasons will be crucial as to whether the governing body's governance and disciplinary unit recommends an appeal.

An FA statement said: “Further to Uefa's decision to impose a three-match suspension on Rooney following his sending-off, the FA await the full reasons, and will give full consideration to the decision internally, before deciding on any response to Uefa or making any further public comment.”

Belfast Telegraph


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