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By ESPN Staff

Beckham expecting Rooney to miss finals

England captain David Beckham has played down Wayne Rooney's chances of being fit for the World Cup and urged the Manchester United striker not to risk his future by coming back too soon.

Beckham bounced back from a metatarsal injury to play in the last World Cup, but had longer than Rooney to recover.

'I was always so positive I was going to make the World Cup anyway. It never entered my head not to be fit for it, whereas Wayne has had his injury a month later than I did,' Beckham told the News of the World.

'If he's not right, then he has to look after himself. He can't take risks. He's got a huge future ahead of him, so he has to be careful.

'He shouldn't rush it. Everyone in our country wants him fit but he's got to think of himself as well.'

On the plus side, Real Madrid midfielder Beckham has rubbished suggestions England are a one-man team and believes there is enough strength in depth to win the World Cup without Rooney.

He added: 'We'd rather have Wayne in the team on and off the pitch. He's great off the pitch and everyone knows what he can do on it. But we've got other world-class players. A lot of them are club captains and have won huge games.

'John Terry and Frank Lampard have won Premiership titles. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have won the European Cup. Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell are going to the Champions League final on Wednesday and have won leagues and so has Rio Ferdinand.

'Gary Neville is Manchester United captain. Michael Owen has played for Real Madrid and captained Liverpool.'