Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is undergoing additional training to ensure his form and fitness for the World Cup, reports Jack Lang of the Daily Mirror.
The England international missed the end of the Premier League season with a groin injury and is determined to be fully fit for the tournament in Brazil.
Rooney will begin preparations for the finals a week before his team-mates in Portugal.
England manager Roy Hodgson is quoted as saying:
He’s going to be with two fitness trainers. Tony Strudwick has been in touch with us, who wanted to know about the pitch in Vale de Lobo. This is a free week, a week where players go off. Many do go to Portugal, where they have homes.
Wayne is so determined to be up and running when we get there on the 19th. He’s got a house out there in Portugal. He’s not alone. A few of them are going out to Portugal.
If they've got houses out there, that’s where they go on their week off. They don’t all go to Dubai and Las Vegas.
His attitude is that he’s desperate to be up and running on the 19th. I’m not as desperate for him to be fully fit on the May 19th. I’m thinking more of the 14th of June, but it’s still quite laudable that that’s the way he thinks and I’m not trying to dissuade him.
But if I do get there on the 19th and the fitness people say he needs two or three days, I won’t be shedding any tears.
Hodgson also admits omitting the experienced Ashley Cole from his squad in favour of Luke Shaw is a gamble, as Shaun Custis of The Sun (subscription required) reports.
Hodgson is quoted as saying:
I've heard people say, ‘What if Leighton Baines got injured, wouldn't Ashley Cole be the right answer?’
And of course the answer to that is yes, he would be, without a doubt.
But Ashley isn't really a cover player. Ashley is a No. 1 man. When I decided Baines might be No. 1, then I decided the next one would be Shaw.
Circumstances could make the decision a very good one or it could make it a very bad one.