Wayne Rooney has admitted he should not have travelled with the England squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
There was a race to get a then youthful Rooney fit for the tournament after he broke three metatarsals playing for Manchester United in the back end of the 2005/06 season.
But, after getting fit in time, he then tore his groin in training and, rather than concede defeat, battled on.
Writing in the Sunday Times, England’s record goalscorer said of his recovery from the foot injury: “The next day was my first training session with the team. I don’t think anyone knows this, but we were jogging round the training pitch for the warm-up and there was a ball. I couldn’t resist.
“I hit it from the halfway line, trying to strike the crossbar and felt my groin tear. I knew straight away. I was: ‘Oh, f****** hell.’
“I got one of the physios to work quietly on it every day. I was taking painkillers. I didn’t want to say anything because a lot of people had put a lot of work into getting me fit. I didn’t report the injury until the tournament was over – and there was a 6cm tear in my groin.”
The striker didn’t play until coming on in the second half of England’s second group match, a win against Trinidad and Tobago.
He started England’s final group match against Sweden but looked visibly upset after being taken off having made little impact on the game. He also started the round-of-16 victory against Ecuador but didn’t get on the scoresheet.
Rooney’s World Cup ended with a red card in England’s quarter-final loss to Portugal.
He added: “Looking back, I should never have gone to that World Cup. In the same position again, I’d rule myself out – and that’s why if the Euros were going ahead this summer I’d have said to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford that if they were struggling in any way, not to push it.
“Of course it’s hindsight. Back then I was 20, it was my first World Cup and there was so much expectation on me.”
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
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- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.