Three Lions Euro hopes damaged by Rooney ban

ENGLAND’S hopes of prospering at next summer’s European Champions were dealt a seismic blow last night when Uefa confirmed Wayne Rooney would serve a three-game ban as a result of the red card he received against Montenegro last week.

The Manchester United striker was dismissed for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic in the 2-2 draw in Podgorica which guaranteed England’s place in Poland and Ukraine.

Uefa’s disciplinary panel, which described the incident as an “assault”, decided on the punishment at a meeting yesterday and took the strongest possible action that will deny manager Fabio Capello the chance to field Rooney during the group stages.

The Football Association will now wait until they receive the full reasoning behind the decision. before deciding whether to appeal. Were they to do so, however, they would run the risk of the suspension increasing on the grounds of the appeal being of a frivolous nature.

The FA now have three days to decide whether to appeal, and they said in a statement: “Further to Uefa’s decision to impose a three-match suspension on Wayne Rooney following his sending-off against Montenegro, the FA await the full reasons from the disciplinary committee, and will give full consideration to the decision internally, before deciding on any response to Uefa or making any further public comment.”

Should the ban be upheld, Capello faces the decision of whether to select his best player, scorer of 28 goals in 73 international appearances, in his 23-man squad in the knowledge he could end up playing no part in the tournament.

The FA had taken some hope from a previous case involving Andrey Arshavin, who was given a two-match ban and missed Russia’s first two games of Euro 2008 after being sent off against Andorra.
And former executive director of the FA, David Davies, believes England would be correct to lodge an appeal.

“There’s no doubt that there was a feeling around Europe that this was a serious offence,” he said. “It’s been treated that way. Could an appeal possibly be described as frivolous? I don’t think it could. This is a test for the FA’s influence inside Uefa.”

STRIKING ISSUE | ROONEY’S REPLACEMENTS

Jermain Defoe: 46 caps, 15 goals
Darren Bent: 11 caps, 4 goals
Andy Carroll: 3 caps, 1 goal
Danny Welbeck: 2 caps, 0 goals
Bobby Zamora: 1 cap, 0 goals
Daniel Sturridge: 0 caps, 0 goals