England’s World Cup Preparations

England’s World Cup perparations got off to a start with … surprise surprise … a light training session in which everyone took part, even Wayne Rooney. In fact, boy wonder was doing extensive ball work, but that had already been witnessed before the England team left Carrington.

What is more interesting is that on current reports, the only test Rooney has to clear (apart from that scan) is one involving full-blooded tackles to his feet. I pity the England player who would be asked to tackle Rooney in training. Go in too hard and you could be responsible for throwing away the World Cup. Go in too light, everything goes fine and Rooney hobbles off at the first serious tackle and you start looking like a pussy…foot.

In all seriousness, Rooney’s presence in the England camp, accompanied by Ferguson’s silence means that despite the good signs everything hinges on the 7th June scan (for which Rooney will fly back tomorrow morning). Everyone wants to see Rooney play, and for my money even a half-fit Rooney coming off the bench could do a lot more than a fit Jermaine Defoe or Theo Walcott.

Rooney kicks a ball in training (Germany)
Rooney kicks a ball during training

Apart from the media hype surrounding Rooney, there were two players not training today – Ashley Cole and David Beckham. Both are nursing minor knocks and should be training tomorrow. If anything Beckham deserves the rest, although he might want to practice a few penalties and finetune the accuracy of his free kicks and crosses. As for Ashley Cole…

David Beckham and Ashley Cole
Words elude me.

Michael Owen continues to train hard…

Owen celebrates...alone
He sure has come a long way…Micheal Owen celebrates a goal in training … alone.

And finally…we’ve heard all about Sven’s bullish mood and the confidence surrounding the England side (this is the most talented group of players to come together for England since they last won the World Cup 40 years ago), and while it seems to be rubbing off on the England players, I get a feeling that Eriksson took things to a brand new level this time around:

Sven and the Squad
“Errr…boss? I think you’ve completely fuckin’ lost it…” (John Terry, Michael Carrick and Jamie Carragher). And at this evidence, Walcott will need to come a lot further in confidence before he gets picked in the first team (or is allowed to score goals like Owen was above).

Rooney’s scan, and beyond that Paraguay, are waiting. Can England get their act together in time?

Sources: All images are from BBC Sport | Football.