Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has cast fresh doubt on the likelihood of Wayne Rooney playing at this summer's World Cup.
Sven-Goran Eriksson still hopes to pick Rooney in the hope that he will be fit to play in the later stages of the tournament after breaking a metatarsal in the defeat to Chelsea at the weekend.
But Ferguson told the Manchester United website: 'You never know, but at the moment I doubt that he'll take part because of the recovery time.'
Ferguson believes Rooney's absence will a 'crippling blow' to England's chances of success in Germany.
'When you see brave players staying down after a tackle you know it's genuine and he's in pain and that's what I felt with Wayne,' said the Scot.
'At first we didn't think it was too bad, but when we sent him for the scan it identified the problem and we realised what a blow it was for the boy and for England.
'Fortunately for us we'll only be without him for two games, but without doubt it's a crippling blow for England.'