ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson revealed he has had to rein in striker Wayne Rooney’s enthusiasm at their pre-World Cup training camp to prevent a recurrence of the injury problems that have blighted previous major tournaments.
The entire 23-man squad took some part in training yesterday in Portugal and were instructed to wear three layers of kit in order to begin preparations for playing in intense heat and humidity in Manaus, the setting for England’s first World Cup game against Italy on 14 June.
But Rooney was left out of a 30-minute session overseen by Hodgson, much to his annoyance, so not to risk aggravating a thigh problem that hampered his end to the season with Manchester United.
The 28-year-old’s stunning breakthrough in Euro 2004 was cut short by an injury suffered in the quarter-final against Portugal and, two years later, he missed the opening game of the World Cup after breaking a metatarsal while playing for Manchester United in the closing weeks of the Premier League season.
Rooney injured an ankle in the months leading up to the World Cup in 2010 and was suspended for the opening two matches of Euro 2012, so Hodgson is unsurprisingly keen to wrap his talisman in cotton wool.
“He’s a bit disappointed because I decided to leave him out of the exercise I was doing, which involved a lot of shooting, because I wanted to protect his thigh,” said Hodgson.
“If it had been up to him, he’d have been in it having as many shots as all the others.
“He spent his week off here in Portugal and he trained during that time. He said to me ‘when you arrive on Monday, I’ll meet you there and I want to be 100 per cent ready to train from the first day’.
“He knows what a good player he is, he knows all eyes are going to be on him and he’ll do everything he can to make certain he brings out his best qualities.”
Joining Rooney and his team-mates in Portugal are a team of scientists from Loughborough University, working on a project entitled “Being comfortable being uncomfortable”. Players’ sweat levels are being monitored within the training camp in Vale de Lobo in order for bespoke recovery drinks to be made available for each player.
“It is individual. People sweat differently and need different drinks,” added Hodgson. “The people helping here are at the very top in their profession.”
LUCKLESS WAYNE’S TOURNAMENT WOE
Broken foot halts progress
Wayne Rooney shone in the Euro 2004 group stage with four goals. But, after cracking his fifth metatarsal in the quarter-final defeat to Portugal, Rooney was sidelined for two months
Can you find another Rooney?
Despite another foot injury, England declared Rooney irreplaceable and took him to the 2006 World Cup anyway. He missed the first match and was sent off in the quarter-final
Ankle injury not to blame for form
Rooney was adamant spraining his ankle against Bayern Munich in March, which saw him leave the ground on crutches, was not the reason he failed to score at the 2010 World Cup
Red mist descends
A straight red card in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro saw Rooney suspended for the first two group matches of the tournament finals