Fabio Capello: Rooney will start against Switzerland

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Wayne Rooney will start against Switzerland in England’s Euro 2012 qualifier despite the problems engulfing his private life, manager Fabio Capello confirmed on Monday.

As lurid reports of Rooney’s liaisons with a prostitute were splashed across British tabloids, the Manchester United striker decamped to Basel with England ahead of the team’s crucial Group G match on Tuesday.

Although one report indicated Rooney was “devastated” by the impact the allegations had had on his family, Capello quashed speculation that the player may withdraw from the squad to deal with the turmoil in his private life.

“Yes he will play,” Capello told journalists at a press conference. “I spoke with him and I monitored him in the two days after the Bulgaria game and he was really, really good on the pitch and he will be in a good situation tomorrow.

“I hope the performance of Rooney tomorrow will be the same that I saw at Wembley,” Capello added, referring to Rooney’s starring role in the 4-0 defeat of Bulgaria on Friday.

Asked if he had been concerned by Rooney’s frame of mind for Tuesday’s match, regarded as the most difficult of England’s qualifying campaign, Capello replied: “No. I think absolutely no…I spoke with him and he’s happy to play.”


England skipper Steven Gerrard also tipped Rooney to set his personal problems to one side and deliver on the pitch.

“Wayne is a big character,” Gerrard said. “Yeah he’s got an issue off the pitch but I don’t think that will stop him from playing well tomorrow night.

“I spoke to him today and trained with him yesterday and he’s been the normal Wayne Rooney that we know.”

The Rooney revelations dominated both the front and back pages of British newspapers on Monday, with several commentators seizing on the affair as the explanation for the striker’s poor performances at the World Cup.

WAYNE Rooney’s marriage is under intense pressure, after it was revealed that he had a series of flings with a prostitute while his wife, Coleen, was pregnant last year, reported The Daily Mail.

The Manchester United and England star, widely criticised during the World Cup for a series of lacklustre performances, broke the news to a “devastated” Coleen last Saturday.

They married two years ago, after six years of dating, becoming one of football’s highest-profile couples. But there are fears that their union is unlikely to survive the new revelations.

Writing of this period in her autobiography, Coleen said: “I was so upset, my head was all over the place. The truth is, and I’ve never said this before, at that time in our relationship, I’d never even slept with Wayne.”

Daily Mirror columnist Oliver Holt said Rooney’s “knowledge and worry” about the impact the revelations would have on his family had been hanging over the striker in South Africa.

“It is the most convincing explanation for why the Wayne Rooney we saw in South Africa was so far removed from the player who has grown into England’s most exciting talent since Paul Gascoigne,” he wrote.

Other newspapers speculated that the affair would hamper the FA’s attempts to find a new sponsor for the national team, with businesses wary of linking their brands to a squad of players involved in a series of sex scandals.

However Rooney received some good news on Monday when sponsor Nike confirmed they were standing by the player.

“We have worked with Wayne for seven years and he continues to be a Nike athlete,” a spokesman for Nike said. “This is a private matter for Wayne and his family and we have no further comment to make at this time.”

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