Date: 9th June 2006 at 12:15pm
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Sir Alex Ferguson has made his stand – ‘I DECIDE WHEN WAYNE ROONEY PLAYS’ – but Sven-Goran Eriksson is ready to defy the United boss!

Rooney will be in his kit and on the bench with the rest of the squad for Saturday’s game against Paraguay in Frankfurt.

He will not come on but the England manager will not rule out his involvement in the games against Trinidad and Tobago on June 15 or Sweden on June 20.

Eriksson will even consider playing Rooney from the start if he is convinced the striker is match-fit.

The Swede should brace himself for a critical reaction from Sir Alex Ferguson if Rooney returns for a group games and suffers any kind of injury setback.

United will even consider the possibility of legal action if Rooney is ruled out for any considerable length of time by an injury suffered during the World Cup.

Eriksson: ‘The good news is that Rooney has no more injury. He is injury-free.

‘Now it’s up to us to get him match-fit and, when we think he is match-fit, I am prepared to take in any specialist Manchester United want.

‘I am prepared to listen to everyone and discuss it with them but the last say on this story is Rooney’s and mine.

‘I am doing this in the best interests of Rooney, the England team and 40 million England fans. I am responsible for it.’

Manchester United’s statement: ‘The expert independent medical view is that Wayne has a good chance of being fit after the group stage.

‘At that point, the expert independent medical view is that his participation in the tournament will require very careful assessment in order to address his suitability, as he will not have had the opportunity to play in less demanding games.’