Injury forces Rooney out of England date with Belarus

ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney last night pulled out of Wednesday&rsquo;s final World Cup qualifier against Belarus after suffering a calf injury.<br /><br />Rooney picked up the knock during Saturday&rsquo;s shock 1-0 defeat in Ukraine &ndash; their first loss in a competitive match under Fabio Capello.<br /><br />Head coach Capello is unlikely to call up a replacement for a match that England do not need to win, having already booked their place at next summer&rsquo;s finals.<br />And Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard has given the squad a boost by staying with the party despite being taken off at half-time.<br /><br />But United goalkeeper Ben Foster was drafted into the squad yesterday as a replacement for Robert Green, who is suspended following his sending-off in Dnipropetrovsk.<br /><br />Rooney was one of England&rsquo;s best performers on an underwhelming occasion that will be better remembered for flares thrown onto the pitch and Green&rsquo;s red card. The 23-year-old now faces a course of treatment in a bid to recover for United&rsquo;s Premier League fixture against Bolton at the weekend.<br /><br />With Rooney injured, Capello could try Aston Villa&rsquo;s Gabriel Agbonlahor up front alongside club colleague Emile Heskey. West Ham&rsquo;s Carlton Cole is another option already in the squad, while Gerrard could be pushed further forward.<br /><br />Green&rsquo;s red card, meanwhile, came after defender Rio Ferdinand had misjudged a long ball forward and failed to keep pace with Ukraine striker Artem Milevskyi. The penalty may not have resulted in a goal but it reduced the visitors to 10 men and was the latest in a recent series of uncharacteristic errors from Ferdinand.<br /><br />But despite acknowledging a dip in the 30-year-old&rsquo;s standards, Capello backed the centre-back to rediscover his form. Asked whether he had concerns about Ferdinand, the Italian responded sharply: &ldquo;No. He made one mistake during the game. It was a long ball that bounced and he didn&rsquo;t judge the direction well.<br /><br />&ldquo;But after that he played a good game. At this moment he is making some mistakes but you cannot question Rio&rsquo;s value.&rdquo;