World Cup 2010 - Capello eases Rooney fears

Wed, 23 Jun 17:51:00 2010

England boss Fabio Capello calmed fears over an injury that forced Wayne Rooney off during the 1-0 win over Slovenia, saying he should be fit for the second round.

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Manchester United striker Rooney - who picked up an ankle injury late in the domestic season and has not looked match-fit at this World Cup - started to struggle past the hour mark and was taken off for Joe Cole after 72 minutes.

The Italian, however, insisted he would be fine for Sunday’s last-16 clash in Bloemfontein.

"I think Wayne will be okay for the next game," Capello said, confirming that the striker was suffering with an ankle problem.

It was a greatly-improved performance from England after they slumped to a heavily-criticised goalless draw with Algeria in the previous game, and Capello spoke of his relief at England’s return to form.

"We play together, we fight together," Capello added. "I've again found the team I know.

“We can go forward against all the teams because the players' minds now are free, without fear, without doubt."

And Capello was delighted by the manner in which his team rediscovered the spirit which had been missing in draws against the USA and Algeria.

"Yesterday evening they drank beer before the game," he commented.

"And I saw the team play with the spirit that we lost in the games we played before this game. The performance was really good and we created a lot of chances to score a second goal.

"This is the spirit that I remember when we played in the qualification games. I am really happy with the performance of the team."

Capello strode onto the pitch at the final whistle and made a point of embracing John Terry, the former England captain who had questioned the manager's methods earlier in the week.

Capello said of Terry: "He is a leader. I have no problem with the players. I respect the players and they respect me. It was a very important performance from Terry.

"But all the players played really well."

Capello hails 'leader' Terry

Capello also believes England will improve as the tournament progresses

"I spoke with the players when we saw the first half against Algeria. We understood it was not a good way to go forward and during training it was very good, focused and fast.

"We found the physicality that we know usually. The players were the same that we see in the Premier League."

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek was stunned by his side's elimination after the late goal in the other group match.

"This is indescribable but it's sport. This will be a positive experience and we'll benefit from it," he said.

"I'm proud of the Slovenian team, we've come so far. I hope England win the World Cup, I think they're the best. This was a hugely difficult match."

Reuters / PA Sport / Eurosport

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