Cap: Roo ready for England duty

England boss Fabio Capello has no concerns over playing Wayne Rooney against Montenegro after speaking to him about his father's arrest.

Last Updated: 06/10/11 at 18:49

Capello: Says Rooney will be fine to play

Capello: Says Rooney will be fine to play

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The 25-year-old touched down in Podgorica on Thursday afternoon to be informed his father, Wayne snr, and uncle, Richie, had been arrested in connection with an alleged betting scam in Scotland last year. They were later released on bail, and Rooney's father tonight protested his innocence through his solicitor.

Manchester United forward Rooney has vowed not to let any off-field issues affect his performance on the pitch.

"I spoke with Wayne five minutes ago," said Capello at his afternoon press conference. "I found him relaxed and calm. There is no problem for the game against Montenegro.

"He is sure a solution will be found to this personal problem in a very short space of time."

Rooney is bound to receive a positive response from inside the England dressing room.

Captain John Terry, like Capello, has no doubts Rooney will remain focused on Friday's game.

"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."

Having established Rooney is in a fit state to play, Capello's major concern surrounds who will partner his first-choice striker.

Rooney's United team-mate Danny Welbeck has been mentioned as a contender, as have Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora, whilst Liverpool's Andy Carroll is not entirely without a hope.

Typically, Capello was giving little away.

"I have some ideas but I still need to think," he said. "I will decide in the morning, not just about who will play with Rooney, but also for right-back."

Uncapped duo Kyle Walker and Phil Jones, the latter who has also been mentioned as a potential central defensive partner for John Terry, are in contention along with Everton's Phil Jagielka.

Capello needs to get his decision right because if England can lock up their defence, they will be well on their way to overcoming a Montenegro side whose own motivation is under scrutiny following coach Branko Brnovic's revelation that he intends to leave three of his senior players out.

He wants them available for what is viewed as a much more important encounter with Switzerland on Tuesday.

The rationale is simple.

If Montenegro win, they would still need three points in Basle to oust England as Group G winners.

Yet even if they lose to Capello's side, by avoiding defeat next week they would claim a play-off berth, a remarkable achievement in itself given they came into this tournament as one of the lowest-ranked teams.

"It is true," said Capello. "They probably think the game against Switzerland is more important than the one against us.

"But a game against England is important too and when this team play at home, they are very dangerous."

England have travelled to southern Europe in the belief will represent Capello's final qualifying game as coach.

The Italian's future has been the subject of conjecture over the past few weeks, with some believing he should stand down as soon as England have qualified while others think he could be talked into staying beyond next summer.

Capello got himself into a bit of a muddle in outlining his preference not to discuss any matter beyond what happens to his team tomorrow.

However, it does appear his departure is set in stone for 2012. The only debate is over exactly when he will leave.

"Yes. I am leaving. Absolutely," Capello said. "The solution for the next England manager is in the hands of the chairman of the FA.

"I will just be really happy if we qualify. I hope my job can help England to play in the Euros.

"Then I will want to drink with my friends, the players and all the people who work with me."

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Fixtures

Friday, 27 March 2015
19:45
England v Lithuania  
Liechtenstein v Austria  
Macedonia v Belarus  
Moldova v Sweden  
Montenegro v Russia  
Slovakia v Luxembourg  
Slovenia v S Marino  
Spain v Ukraine  
Switzerlnd v Estonia  
Saturday, 28 March 2015
15:00
Kazakhstan v Iceland  

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