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'Impossible to win without Rooney'

England midfielder Steven Gerrad rates as disaster the idea that Wayne Rooney might miss the football World Cup due to injury.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 17:16 IST

England midfielder Steven Gerrard rates as a disaster the idea that Michael Rooney might miss the World Cup through injury.

The Manchester United striker is facing at least a six week lay-off after breaking a fourth metatarsal bone in his right foot in United's 3-0 loss to Chelsea on Saturday.

And Gerrard said: "It would be a disaster for England if we had to go to the World Cup finals without Wayne. He is idolised around the country and is our main man.

"I think it is impossible to have a successful World Cup without Wayne."

The Liverpool skipper, who had to sit out the last World Cup due to injury, added: "Any team without Wayne Rooney isn't as strong. In my eyes he is one of the world's best players now at 20."

The most optimistic outlook is that Rooney will be out of action until England's first group match against Paraguay on June 10 in Frankfurt.

The 20-year-old attacker's participation in Euro 2004 was ended early when he broke his fifth metatarsal in the same foot— and on that occasion he did not play again for 10 weeks.

Gerrard knows only too well the anguish of being ruled out of a World Cup with injury as he had to withdraw from the squad that went to the Far East in 2002 because he needed a groin operation.

"I know Wayne will be desperate to go, so fingers crossed he can recover quickly from this.

"Hopefully he won't have to go through what I went through in 2002. From experience I can tell him that it is a nightmare back home watching a World Cup on the TV."

With Newcastle striker Michael Owen also complaining of discomfort on Saturday after his first run-out for more than four months after also fracturing a metatarsal, England's options up front could be severely compromised.

"I do not want to talk about the situation over what alternatives there are and what chance it gives to other people to play," said Gerrard.

"Let's just keep our fingers crossed that Wayne does go to the World Cup.

"If it is not to be, obviously it is an opportunity for other players— Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Darren Bent— but I would much prefer to have a fit Wayne Rooney in the starting XI."

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 18:14 IST