England coach Fabio Capello has confirmed Wayne Rooney will play in tomorrow’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland despite recent allegations about the striker’s private life.
Rooney was one of England’s best performers in their 4-0 victory over Bulgaria on Friday night, however, his place in the team in Basle had come under question after lurid claims in two Sunday newspapers.
The player flew to Switzerland with the squad following allegations that he had sex with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child.
Capello said he was confident the player was in the right state of mind to take his place tomorrow night.
“Yes he will play. During training he was really good and I spoke with him and he’s happy to play,” Capello said.
“I know the players when they want to play – that is really important.
“Against Bulgaria he was really, really good on the pitch.
“He will also be in a good situation tomorrow. I hope the performance of Rooney tomorrow will be the same as at Wembley.
“We are focused on the game, not about the private life of the players. We are here to play this game and train very well.”
Skipper Steven Gerrard said he expected Rooney to put the off-field matter to one side as England look to begin their qualification campaign with back-to-back wins.
“Yeah he’s got an issue off the pitch put I don’t think that will stop him from playing well,” the midfielder said.
“I spoke with him today at lunchtime and in training and Wayne’s been fine. He’s looking forward to the game and playing well.
“I think football can do that sometimes (help you focus) if you’ve got an issue of the field.
“Once the game starts Wayne will be focused on the field and getting the three points.
“Wayne’s a big character. You expect big performances from Wayne every time he steps on the pitch. You saw that against Bulgaria. I expect another big performance from Wayne.”
Capello denied he had been more lenient with Rooney than with John Terry, whom he removed as captain following allegations about his private life.
“He was captain,” the Italian said. “He played in all of the games, I never suspended him.”
Michael Dawson’s injury means Capello will be forced to select another centre-half to play alongside Phil Jagielka and he will choose from Matthew Upson, Gary Cahill and Joleon Lescott.
While Cahill replaced Dawson at Wembley on Friday, Upson was not even on the bench, a decision explained by the manager.
He said: “All these players are ready to play but you can only choose 18 players.
“You have to decide the first 11 and the players for the bench.
“The most important thing is that players understand what we have to do.”
Capello underlined the importance of tomorrow’s fixture, saying: “Switzerland are the strongest team in the group.
“This group is very balanced so we need to win every game.”