Neville: Utd and England need Wayne

GARY NEVILLE believes club colleague Wayne Rooney has become so important to England and Manchester United that an injury to the striker would spell disaster for both teams.

Rooney is enjoying his prolific season yet, having scored 28 goals already, and has almost single-handedly led United to victory on several occasions, not least on Sunday when he came off the bench to net the winner in the Carling Cup final.

The 24-year-old’s form also makes him one of the few bright spots of recent weeks for England boss Fabio Capello, who has been hit by a seemingly endless stream of injuries and off-field controversies. Rooney’s presence has kept United in the chase for the Premier League and puts England among the favourites for this year’s World Cup. Neville is just hoping he stays in peak condition during a gruelling run-in and summer.

“England cannot afford to lose him and neither can we,” said the United club captain. “We have two months of important matches now and we need him fit for them. He is going through a peak moment in his career.”

Neville, 35, is in the dark over his own future, with his contract due to expire at the end of another hit season. He added: “I have to decide what I want to do myself first. The club will play a big part in that and I need to speak to the manager.”