On This Day in 2006: Wayne Rooney passed fit for World Cup duty

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England striker Wayne Rooney was passed fit to play in the World Cup on this day in 2006.

The 20-year-old became a major doubt for the tournament in Germany after suffering a metatarsal injury just six weeks before his country’s opening game.

Optimism that the Manchester United player would be available to Three Liones manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was fuelled by the sight of him kicking a ball during training sessions with the national team.

Wayne Rooney suffered injury just weeks before the 2006 World Cup after being challenged by Chelsea’s Paulo Ferreira at Stamford Bridge
Wayne Rooney suffered injury just weeks before the 2006 World Cup after being challenged by Chelsea’s Paulo Ferreira at Stamford Bridge (Jane Mingay/PA)

After flying in from England’s training base in Baden-Baden, he underwent a CT scan on his broken foot at a Manchester hospital before being deemed fit for selection.

Rooney’s metatarsal issue came four years after then-England captain David Beckham faced a race to be fit to feature at the 2002 World Cup due to a similar injury.

Rooney – who sustained the problem in his club’s 3-0 loss at Chelsea on April 29 – later said he “should never have gone to that World Cup”, while also revealing he kept quiet after suffering a subsequent groin tear in training.

After sitting out England’s 1-0 Group B win over Paraguay, he returned as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 success over Trinidad and Tobago before starting the 2-2 draw with Sweden and both of his country’s knockout games.

Wayne Rooney, second right, was sent off during England's quarter-final exit at the hands of Portugal following a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho
Wayne Rooney, second right, was sent off during England’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Portugal following a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho (Martin Rickett/PA)

His World Cup ended with a quarter-final red card against Portugal for an adjudged stamp on Ricardo Carvalho, with Eriksson’s side losing that tie in Gelsenkirchen on penalties.

Current Derby manager Rooney scored a record 53 goals for his country, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s total of 49 in September 2015.

His 120 caps, won between 2003 and 2018, is the most of any England outfield player and second overall, behind former goalkeeper Peter Shilton (125).

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