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Last Updated: Tuesday May 02 2006 12:09 GMT

Will Rooney be fit for the World Cup?

Wayne Rooney

With the World Cup beginning in Germany on 10 June, one question is still dominating the news - will Wayne Rooney's foot be ready in time?

A second scan on his broken foot has shown he won't be able to play in any of England's group matches, with another scan happening on 14 June.

That's after England's first game, and it's hoped Rooney will get the all clear to start training after that.

That would give him just over a week to get fit for the second round of the tournament, should England qualify from Group B.


A metatarsal
What is a metatarsal?

Metatarsals are small bones in your foot. Each foot has five in it, one for each toe.

They act together in the feet to help your feet take the weight of your body, as well as helping you move across bumpy ground.

Wayne Rooney has broken the fourth metatarsal in his right foot.

How long does it take to recover from?

Based on other players with similar injuries, it varies.

When Rooney broke a metatarsal at Euro 2004 it took him 14 weeks to recover fully. This season it took Ashley Cole 12 weeks to return to playing.

But David Beckham was playing at the World Cup seven weeks after breaking his foot in 2002. This year, Preston North End striker David Nugent was back on the pitch playing for his club five weeks and six days after breaking a metatarsal.

Other players have taken 20 weeks or more before playing again.

How long is it until England need him?

Rooney was injured on 29 April. England's first game is on 10 June. That's six weeks to the day from the original injury.

A more realistic comeback game may be the second round of the tournament. Providing they make it through the group stages England will play their next match on either 24 or 25 June.

That's eight weeks after the game in which Rooney was injured, and would still be a very speedy recovery.

How late can a decision be made?

England name a provisional squad for the tournament on 8 May. The final 23-man squad must be submitted to Fifa on 22 May.

But Fifa have said that countries can name replacements for injured players up until the day before their first game - in England's case, 9 June.

That means Sven Goran Eriksson could name Rooney in the squad, but change his mind if the striker's injury isn't healing very well.

David Beckham
David Beckham broke a metatarsal before the 2002 World Cup
Who else has had the same injury?

Most of the England squad. Ashley Cole and Michael Owen are only just recovering now from metatarsal injuries this season.

Ledley King broke a metatarsal in April and is a big doubt for Germany.

Before the last World Cup, four years' ago, both David Beckham and Gary Neville suffered broken metatarsals.

Neville missed the tournament completely, Beckham went to Japan as England captain, but didn't look anything like being completely fit.

Steven Gerrard, Danny Murphy and Scott Parker have also been injured in the same way since 2002.

Were his boots to blame?

Nike, who make the boots Rooney was wearing against Chelsea, say no.

Even so, some people are still critical of the more modern style of football boots, which are designed to be lighter and help the players 'feel' the ball more.

A pair of boots used to last an entire season, and were much heavier, but now players only use them for a few weeks or even a few games.