England have been dealt another injury blow with Wayne Rooney set to miss the next three weeks with an ankle injury.
Rooney has not travelled to Valencia for Manchester United's Champions League game on Wednesday and manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that the striker will almost certainly miss England's game with Montenegro in two weeks' time.
''It will be two to three weeks,'' said Ferguson. ''But it depends because Wayne has done quite well with his recovery from injury in the past. It is a straightforward ankle injury. And it is not the same one he did in Munich. Nobody likes to be injured but he is. There is nothing you can do about it.''
England will already be without Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe, Fulham's Bobby Zamora and Arsenal's Theo Walcott, while Fabio Capello must also cope without midfielders James Milner and Frank Lampard.
United have also been hit by the news that Paul Scholes looks set to be out for the next ten days because of a calf complaint.
''You don't want to lose your best players, that goes without saying,'' added Ferguson. ''The problem is with one of those small injuries like Paul has got, when you are travelling and sitting on a plane, stiffness comes into it and doesn't make it any better.
''It was a big decision to leave him behind. Because it is only a little one, you are tempted to play him when it is not wise. He should be ready in 10 days.''
The good news for both club and country though is that Rio Ferdinand is set to partner Nemanja Vidic in central defence for the first time this season. Ferdinand's two appearances since recovering from the knee injury that wrecked his World Cup have both been when Vidic has been rested.
But after watching his side concede nine goals in their past five Premier League games, Sir Alex Ferguson could not have chosen a better time to get his first-choice pairing back together.