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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard misses training, but only as 'precaution'

England are confident Steven Gerrard will be fit for their World Cup opener against Paraguay on Saturday.

The Liverpool midfielder missed Wednesday's training session in Germany with a stiff back which had caused him to pull out of the closing stages of the previous day's session.

But coach Sven-Goran Eriksson views his absence as merely a precaution and expects Gerrard to be firing on all cylinders by the time England launch their bid for glory this summer.

An FA spokesman said: 'The fact Steven is not training is purely precautionary and we would expect him to be ready for the game on Saturday.'

Skipper David Beckham and full-back Ashley Cole were fully involved in training after suffering slight ankle and thigh problems in Saturday's 6-0 defeat of Jamaica at Old Trafford.

But the notable absentee was Wayne Rooney who was flying back to England on a private jet to undergo a scan in Manchester on his broken metatarsal.

The Manchester United striker was seen warming up and undertaking rehabilitation work yesterday and Eriksson has maintained throughout the build-up to the finals that he expects Rooney to play some part in the tournament.

England were beginning their preparations in earnest today after the public relations exercise yesterday when 500 local children were allowed to watch the training session.