In­jury rumour rub­bished, but Amer­i­cans plan to wind Wayne up in opener

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

DAVID BECK­HAM will have re­turned to Eng­land’s train­ing camp with one mes­sage from his scout­ing mis­sion to watch the US-Aus­tralia warm-up game last week.

Aus­tralia were so poor that it is dif­fi­cult to as­sess the threat posed by the Amer­i­cans for to­day’s World Cup tie.

USA beat Aus­tralia 3-1 in Rood­e­poort last Satur­day with Beck­ham – as part of his role on Fabio Capello’s tech­ni­cal staff – ac­com­pa­ny­ing Eng­land gen­eral man­ager Franco Bal­dini to check on the forth­com­ing op­po­nents.

A day later the US were in­ti­mat­ing that Wayne Rooney was strug­gling with a ham­string in­jury.

Noth­ing, ac­cord­ing to the Eng­land camp, could have been be fur­ther from the truth with Rooney said to be the fittest – and sharpest – he has been for some time in train­ing ses­sions in Rusten­burg.

Missing from train­ing ear­lier this week were Matthew Up­son, who had a tem­per­a­ture, and David James (knee).

The goal­keeper is all but ruled out of to­day’s match.

Mid­fielder Gareth Barry’s chances of in­clu­sion are rated at 20 per­cent.

But will the Amer­i­cans em­ploy dirty tricks against Rooney?

Their con­cern over the striker was ap­par­ent af­ter their friendly vic­tory over Aus­tralia with de­fender Jay De­Merit, who plays for Wat­ford, say­ing: “How to stop him? Yeah, good ques­tion. I have thought about play­ing him and I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to play against Rooney a few times.

“We all un­der­stand the type of player he is and his world-class abil­ity. The prepa­ra­tions for him in par- tic­u­lar, of course, are go­ing to be high.”

There have been sug­ges­tions from the US camp that they may try to play on Rooney’s tem­per­a­ment.

“The team know that you try to wind Rooney up, that’s been out there al­ready,” De­Merit said.

“But I think he’s learned over the years, with peo­ple telling him, that’s an easy way to get at him. I don’t think it’s as easy to wind Rooney up as peo­ple think it is.”

Of Eng­land he added: “We all know them. So it is about how we de­fend against them as an XI and make their day as dif­fi­cult as pos­si­ble.

“We are un­der no il­lu­sions as to the huge task we have in the first game but that takes noth­ing away from our own con­fi­dence.

“We re­spect Eng­land’s rep­u­ta­tions but we would love to bring them down a lit­tle. There is no point com­ing to the World Cup un­less you go in with an at­ti­tude like that.”

Against Aus­tralia, the US looked de­fen­sively vul­ner­a­ble but were a threat on at­tack – at times play­ing with four for­wards – and with a new, mem­o­rable name spring­ing to the fore: Ed­son Bud­dle.

The 29-year-old striker scored twice and im­pressed with his pace and power.

He is also known to Beck­ham, be­ing a team­mate of the mid­fielder at LA Galaxy along with Lan­don Dono­van.

“He’s my Galaxy team­mate and a friend,” Bud­dle said of Beck­ham. “He’s a good pal, ab­so­lutely. Hope­fully, I will see him when we play Eng­land.

“David’s been a mas­sive in­flu­ence on me.

“To have a qual­ity player like David at Galaxy, you kind of think to your­self: ‘If you can’t score with David on your team serv­ing up balls, then you might as well for­get it.’

“For­tu­nately, it has gone my way and I have been able to play with him.”

Nev­er­the­less the goals were Bud­dle’s first for the US, in ad­mit­tedly only his third ap­pear­ance, hav­ing earned his first cap eight years ago be­fore his ca­reer was de­railed through a se­ries of on-and off-the-field prob­lems.

Bud­dle – who was named Ed­son af­ter Pele (his first name), his fa­ther Win­ston’s favourite player – is now ex-

STRAIGHT TALK­ING: Eng­land man­ager Fabio Capello speaks to Frank Lam­pard, Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Steven Ger­rard and Ashley Cole dur­ing the Eng­land train­ing ses­sion in Rusten­burg.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.