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Eng coach gambles on Rooney for WC

Eriksson sprung a surprise by naming the injured centre-forward in squad.Who is the greatest footballer of all times?

india Updated: May 10, 2006 01:28 IST

It seems somehow fitting that England's FIFA World Cup base should be Baden-Baden, home to one Germany's most famous casinos, after manager Sven-Goran Eriksson gambled on both the injured Wayne Rooney and the untested Theo Walcott when naming his provisional 23-man finals squad on Monday.

Never previously known for his risk-taking, Eriksson has not given up on the prospect of Rooney recovering from his broken metatarsal in time for the latter stages of the tournament, despite Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's admission over the weekend that it was looking a "forlorn hope".

After naming Rooney as one of four forwards in his squad, the Swede said: "I would be absolutely crazy not to pick Wayne Rooney when you think he might be available for the World Cup. We have other world-class players but we don't have another Wayne Rooney and if you had my job you would take him."

Wayne Rooney was named in the squad as one of only four forwards, despite doubts about whether he will have recovered from his metatarsal injury in time to play any part in the tournament.

On Rooney, Eriksson said the thought of leaving the Manchester United forward at home had never crossed his mind.

"I should be absolutely crazy if I didn't pick him if it is still a possibility that he can play in the World Cup. The England supporters would never forgive me if I did that."

"If we were in the semi-final against Brazil, of course I would be calmer on the bench if Wayne Rooney was fit. But there is nothing we can do but wait and we will know more when he has his next scan."

England's provisional World Cup squad»

Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson (Tottenham), David James (Manchester City), Robert Green (Norwich City).

Defenders: Gary Neville (Manchester Utd), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester Utd), John Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea).

Midfielders: David Beckham (Real Madrid/ESP), Michael Carrick (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich/GER), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham).

Forwards: Michael Owen (Newcastle), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

Stand-by players: Scott Carson (Liverpool), Luke Young (Charlton), Nigel Reo-Coker (West Ham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Andrew Johnson (Crystal Palace).

First Published: May 09, 2006 10:01 IST