Rooney backed for Montenegro mission despite off-field drama

MONTENEGRO vs ENGLAND

MANAGER Fabio Capello insists the arrest of Wayne Rooney’s father in connection with an alleged betting scam will not distract his talisman from shooting England into Euro 2012 tonight.

Rooney is expected to start in Montenegro, where a draw will be enough to confirm England’s place at the top of Group G and book their spot at next summer’s finals in Poland and Ukraine.

“I spoke with Wayne. I found him relaxed and calm. There is no problem for the game against Montenegro,” Capello said yesterday. “He is sure a solution will be found to this personal problem in a very short space of time.”

Captain John Terry, himself no stranger to playing in the midst of off-field controversy, backed Rooney to brush the episode aside and maintain his superb early-season form in Podgorica.

“It is important for him to go out there and play his football, which he loves doing,” said Terry. “He will always be fully focused on the pitch. That is all that matters to us. When you are on the pitch or training pitch, you can switch off from anything in life. Tomorrow’s game is the most important thing. We all realise that.”

Capello is keen to cement qualification with a win, but said he was still to decide who would partner Rooney in attack. Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck, Liverpool’s Andy Carroll, Fulham’s Bobby Zamora and Aston Villa’s Darren Bent are all in the frame.

The Italian was more certain of his intentions post-2012, confirming that he would be leaving his role regardless of the team’s success at the tournament. “Yes, I am leaving. Absolutely,” he said. “The solution for the next England manager is in the hands of the Football Association chairman. I hope I can help England to play in the Euros. Then I will want to drink with my friends, the players and all who work with me.”

Rooney’s father, also called Wayne, last night denied involvement in a betting scam after being one of nine people arrested and then bailed until January by Merseyside Police.