Neville Injury Scare for England


Defender Gary Neville has given England an injury scare before Thursday’s World Cup match against Trinidad and Tobago. The Manchester United full-back pulled out of training just 15 minutes into the final session in Nuremberg. Neville spent a couple of minutes on the sidelines before heading down the players’ tunnel with England physio Gary Lewin. The 31-year-old defender has been troubled by a hamstring problem since the end of the Premiership season. England trained at the Franken-Stadion shortly after arriving in Nuremberg for their second group match. Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is due to hold a news briefing ahead of the game at about 1600 BST. Eriksson had been expected to name the same starting line-up that beat Paraguay 1-0 in their opener, with Michael Owen alongside Peter Crouch in attack. But Wayne Rooney could still play some part in Thursday’s game as a substitute after recovering from a broken foot. He looked sharp and appeared to be enjoying himself in sweltering conditions during the open part of the training session. BBC Five Live football correspondent Jonathan Legard reported Owen would definitely start the match, which kicks off at 1700 BST. Owen was taken off after only 55 minutes against Paraguay in Frankfurt. But Eriksson said: “I think Michael is getting better and better and he needs to play, of course.” Some reports say Eriksson is coming under pressure from the Football Association not to risk Rooney in a bid to avoid a political row with Manchester United. United are unhappy at the prospect of the 20-year-old striker being rushed back too soon, and either suffering a recurrence of his injury or a fresh problem. Eriksson has always said he, in conjunction with Rooney, would make the final decision on his match fitness after publicly declaring he was “injury free.” It was suggested by an Italian broadcaster that fitness coach Ivan Carminati believes Rooney is still only 70% match fit, although Legard questioned the strength of that report. The player himself has been going flat out in training and team-mate Rio Ferdinand admitted the young star was “desperate” to get into the action. England struggled in the Frankfurt heat on Saturday, and the players were greeted with a temperature approaching 30C as they arrived in Nuremberg. Revised weather forecasts suggest humid conditions for the match, despite it kicking off in the early evening (1800 local time). Leading German weather forecaster Joerg Kachelmann said: “It’s probably going to be hot for England after all.” Fifa has promised it will ensure players have access to water during stoppages in play. Earlier, Neville had said the heat should not be used as an excuse for Saturday’s laboured display, and the team needed to improve their passing and movement. “The basics have to be right, and then we can start to look at other things,” he told Five Live.