• Premier League

Hodgson won't risk Rooney fitness

ESPN staff
August 10, 2013
Wayne Rooney has been called up by Roy Hodgson for England's friendly with Scotland next week © AP

Roy Hodgson has assured David Moyes that Wayne Rooney will only play in England's friendly against Scotland on Wednesday if he is fit.

The match, celebrating 150 years of the Football Assocation, is being used by Hodgson as preparation for England's four remaining World Cup qualifiers in September and October.

After suffering hamstring and shoulder injuries, Rooney has played only 45 minutes of football in pre-season, in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Real Betis at Carrington, Manchester United's training ground, last week.

Rooney missed Rio Ferdinand's testimonial on Friday but could play a part in United's Community Shield clash with Wigan on Sunday at Wembley if Moyes opts to pick him.

And Hodgson admits he won't take any unnecessary risks with Rooney's fitness when he reports for international duty next week.

"I know David won't mind him taking part in the game but we don't want to put Wayne on the field of play if he is not ready to play," Hodgson said.

"The last thing I would want to do is send him back to his club injured and that goes for the rest of the players too.

"David and Wayne understand the situation. We'll make a decision. When Wayne comes we'll assess his physical fitness

"My selection of him could be used as a wedge between David and myself and there won't be any wedges put between us two.

"We've been friends for a long time. David understands my situation fully and put simply we have four very important games coming up.

"I haven't seen the players since we left Brazil three months ago and it's important for me to have them around.

"And even if they can't play full parts in the game - or any part at all - I want them there for these two or three days because we are a squad, we are a team, we are a group.

"Just because someone at this time is not fully fit to play, it doesn't mean they are not going to be an important cog in the wheel come September."

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