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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Nike dismiss concerns over Rooney's boots

The man who developed Wayne Rooney's new boot insists it had nothing to do with the injury which threatens to wreck the England striker's World Cup dream.

Rooney was wearing Nike's 'Total 90 Supremacy' boot for the first time at Stamford Bridge on Saturday when he suffered the broken metatarsal which Manchester United have confirmed will rule him out for a minimum of six weeks.

But, while England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson keeps his fingers crossed like the rest of a worried nation, the finger is again being pointed at the new-style boots which some people speculate are the major reason behind such a recent spate of metatarsal injuries.

Nike point out that of the series of England stars to be affected in recent years - including David Beckham, Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard - Rooney is the only one contracted to them.

And, at the high-profile launch of the 'Total 90 Supremacy' boot, which weighs in at a mere 10.5 ounces and features air technology specifically to cushion and protect the foot, boot developer Cedric Collet insisted there was no added risk to the safety of a player by the use of lighter micro-fibres in the boot construction rather than old-style leather.

'Nothing occurred in any of our tests to indicate the player would be at any risk,' said Collet. 'The boot was specifically designed for Wayne and has incorporated three different types of protection for his foot.

'Every time we bring a boot out, the safety aspect is improved in some way. The boot is more durable and it keeps the shape around the player's foot.

'In some ways, I think these injuries are more linked to the speed the game is played at now.'

Nike also claim to have been exonerated by both Rooney and United's medical staff, who will liaise with manager Sir Alex Ferguson before the decision over whether to release the £27million forward for England duty is made.

'Any boot needs to be a mixture of protection and performance, however no boot can provide a guarantee against injuries,' said a Nike spokesman.

'Manchester United have confirmed that there is no link between the boots and the injury sustained by Wayne.'