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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Rooney scan brought forward a week

The scan which will make-or-break Wayne Rooney's World Cup has been brought forward to June 7.

The 20-year-old was due to fly out to Germany with the England squad next Monday before returning to Manchester 10 days later to have the CT scan which would determine whether or not he will be able to take any part in the competition.

However, following a meeting between Sir Alex Ferguson, Sven-Goran Eriksson and the medical teams of both England and Manchester United at the Premiership's Carrington training complex this morning it has been decided to bring the scan forward by seven days.

While United are refusing to give any credence to weekend reports that the Old Trafford club felt Eriksson had been too optimistic in his assessment of the results of the scan Rooney had on Thursday, it now seems the forward is less likely to play in Germany than the England manager previously felt.

While United stress the next scan is 'precautionary', it is stating the obvious to say the injury is less likely to have healed than it would have done had the scan taken place on June 14 as originally intended.

Confirmation that the fracture involved a joint is also telling, as breaks of this nature usually take longer to heal.

While Eriksson has continually stressed his intention to take Rooney to Germany even if the youngster could only play a minimal part in the competition, he is also acutely aware of Ferguson's concern over Rooney going when he is less than 100% fit and then being forced to play.

While under FIFA rules there is little Ferguson could do to prevent Eriksson calling Rooney into his squad, in practical terms the Football Association are anxious to avoid getting involved in a dispute with United over a player who could be vital to England for a decade and beyond.

With FIFA demanding that any alterations to Eriksson's 23-man squad be made no later than June 9 - one day before the opening game against Paraguay in Frankfurt - Rooney's revised scan will now determine whether he plays or not.

If the results are favourable, he will be dispatched to Germany on the first available plane.

However if, as looks increasingly certain, Rooney's foot has not healed sufficiently for Ferguson's liking, the player will begin his summer holiday and Eriksson will call on a replacement, most probably one of standby duo Jermain Defoe or Andrew Johnson.