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By ESPN Staff
Feb 6, 2007

Rooney misses out for England against Spain

MANCHESTER, England, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Striker Wayne Rooney has been ruled out of a re-shuffled England side to face Spain in Wednesday's friendly.

England manager Steve McClaren said Rooney, who picked up a back injury in Manchester United's 4-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, had not recovered in time and would be replaced by Peter Crouch.

McClaren will try again with a 4-3-3 formation used in last November's 1-1 friendly draw in the Netherlands, with Crouch flanked up front by Shaun Wright-Phillips and Kieron Dyer.

Wright-Phillips gets his chance at Old Trafford after McClaren said Aaron Lennon had been ruled out by a stomach bug that had dogged the winger for several days.

Holding player Michael Carrick will anchor a more familiar three-man field, with Frank Lampard to his left and Steven Gerrard on the right.

Bigger changes are in store at the back, largely due to injury absences, with Phil Neville stepping in after England lost both their left backs, Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge.

Captain John Terry's long-term injury absence means he will be rested and his place alongside Rio Ferdinand handed to Jonathan Woodgate, with Gary Neville at right back.

McClaren dropped first-choice goalkeeper Paul Robinson in order to give Ben Foster his England debut and a taste of international football.

'Nobody has got the experience Paul Robinson has got,' said the coach. 'And we need to give the keepers below (him) experience. It's a perfect opportunity.'

The game is being used by both sides as preparation for next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers, though injuries have made it a selection headache for McClaren.

'We thought Rooney might be okay, but the game's come just a day too late,' the coach said.

Woodgate's place follows an impressive loan spell from Real Madrid at Middlesbrough.

'I've always admired Jonathan and ever since he came back to the Premier League, he's been a revelation. He's kept away from injuries...and he's absolutely dying to play for England again.'

England's last game against Spain was a 1-0 defeat in Madrid in 2004 where the visitors were played off the park, though the friendly was marred by racist chanting by the home fans.

'I was there at the Bernabeu and although we tried to ruffle their feathers we couldn't get the ball off them that evening,' said McClaren, who was assistant to former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

'So we know how they can play, they're one of the best sides in Europe technically and a good side on their day. We've got to make it our day.'

As for the racism, he said: 'A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and a lot of good has been done. In the fight against racism there's no bigger supporter than football itself - and definitely the England team.'

England: Ben Foster; Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Phil Neville; Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick; Frank Lampard; Shaun Wright-Phillips, Peter Crouch, Kieron Dyer.