Tuesday Kickoff: Rooney fit for England; Messi and Balotelli to miss friendly match; and more

WayneRooneyEngland2 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Having missed all of preseason with a variety of injuries, Wayne Rooney could make his season debut on Wednesday.

Currently with the England squad, manager Roy Hodgson said he believes Rooney is free of any injuries, and would like to see him play in the friendly match at Wembley Stadium vs. Scotland, pending his fitness levels. The 27-year-old would be making his 84th appearance for the England National Team if he plays.

Since returning from Manchester United’s Tour of Asia with a hamstring injury in early July, Rooney has yet to see the field for Man United in any preseason friendly match, even missing last Tuesday’s match in Sweden due to what Man United called a shoulder problem. Many reports believe that leaving Rooney out of these games is to enable the club to find a transfer away from the club and David Moyes.

However, reports this week in England state that Rooney could end up playing for Man United in their season opener on Saturday vs. Swansea City.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday kicked off:

MESSI AND BALOTELLI TO BOTH MISS ITALY-ARGENTINA FRIENDLY

In a much anticipated friendly match between old rivals Italy and Argentina, some of the shine and polish from the match will be absent.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi and Italy striker Mario Balotelli will both miss the match due to minor injuries, according to reports in Italy. The two were part of separate audiences on Tuesday to meet with the Pope in Rome, but are expected to both leave the Eternal City for their respective club teams as they work towards the start of their league seasons.

Messi was left off Barcelona’s squad last Saturday in Malaysia due to an injury worry, and the club are hopeful that he will be ready for their opener on Sunday.

BARCELONA, PSG INTERESTED IN EACH OTHERS PLAYERS AGAIN

While Barcelona have kept their negotiations for Chelsea defender David Luiz under wraps, they are reportedly looking at other options in case the Luiz transfer doesn’t go through.

According to reports in Spain, Barcelona are looking into signing former Paris Saint Germain defender Mamadou Sakho, who has dropped down the pecking order under Laurent Blanc. Currently Alex and Thiago Silva are the preferred centerback duo at PSG.

Despite being at the club since 2007 and making more than 150 appearances for the side, the 23-year-old Sakho is reported to be pondering a change of scenery to give his career the jump-start it needs.

Meanwhile, PSG is reportedly looking at right back options to replace Gregory Van der Wiel, who is thought to be on his way out of the Parc des Princes. One of the players PSG is looking at, and has always had their eyes on, is Daniel Alves of Barcelona.

QUICK KICKS

West Ham have completed the transfer of winger Stewart Downing from Liverpool for a reported £6 million ($9.3 million). (REPORT)

Due to financial issues Anzhi Makhachkala is looking to offload many of their players, including Samuel Eto’o, who is interested in a move to Chelsea. (REPORT)

Christian Eriksen, who is thought to potentially be on his way out of Ajax, is hoping for a switch to Tottenham. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich’s Luiz Gustavo has admitted that he would be interested in a reported move to Arsenal. (REPORT)

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has joined many voices in calling for an end to foreign players in English club academies. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these developments? Do you see Rooney making his season debut on Wednesday? Do you believe losing Balotelli and Messi for the Italy/Argentina friendly takes away from the match? Do you see Sakho moving to Barcelona?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Rooney fit for England; Messi and Balotelli to miss friendly match; and more

  1. ChrisTheLSUTIger says:

    Does Jamie Carragher not realize that lowering competition for English players will not result in better English players?

    • Brian says:

      It does seem short sighted.

    • chris says:

      Foreign competition hasnt resulted in better english players either

      • Naugles says:

        England fortunes have been headed south ever since salads replaced pints in the professional footballer’s diet.

    • slowleftarm says:

      This is the same guy who retired from international football with plenty of good years left rather than compete for a starting spot.

    • Put the ball betwixt the stix says:

      First – It’s nationalist, not racist.

      Second – The push to artificially make more opportunities for English players is short sighted. The BPL benefits from the tremendous amounts of money generated from the global audience. Owners from the larger world. It’s a global league. The focus on the nationalist angle is trying to take things backward.

  2. Yusef says:

    Stewart Downing went for more than Dempsey? The over-valuing of English players in the EPL is comical!

    • Beto says:

      Oya! Overvalued but underplayed/utilized..

      Ex. Crouch, Defoe, Ox, Rooney, Zaha, Carroll, Livermore, Huddlestone, Parker… many others!

      The EPL and Three Lions have a less than ideal relationship imo

  3. Yankeedom says:

    I always get a chuckle out of England’s lack of success as a footballing country in terms of international play. I mean they’re credited with inventing the sport yet have only 1 World Cup and 0 Euro championships?
    That would be like the US Men’s Basketball team having won only 1 Olympic gold medal in their history.

    Obviously I think this has trickled down to their league play as well. We all know the EPL is nothing without the international stars they attract. I guess Jamie Carragher’s point of view is a popular one, which would make sense given the English player’s (as a whole population) lack of influence outside of his own domestic league.

    • Bac says:

      The sport’s world’s best example of the sum of the parts being greater than the whole, rather than vice versa
      Unless you want to try and include the Baseball Classic, and why the U.S. can’t win it… (but something tells me that if it was that important we’d win more than one over the next hundred years….lol)

    • Matt says:

      They just need somebody with enough nerve to make penalties :-). Reminds me of the scene in the natural “Losing is a disease… as contagious as…”

      2010 crushed by Germany
      2006 lost in QF on pks
      2002 lost in QF to Brazil 2-1
      1998- elimianted in 2nd round on pks by Argentina
      1994 didn’t qualify
      1990 lost to West German in pks in semis
      1986 lost to Argentina in QFs “hand of God”

  4. Alex says:

    would like yo see Eto’o with the Galaxy

  5. Sony says:

    Carragher is racist.

    • Reid says:

      I think you mean nationalist. I didn’t see where he said he didn’t want any English of African/indian/Asian heritage on the team. He doesn’t want 15/16yr olds from other countries to be bought and brought into the academy system which forces out local kids that have been with the set up since they were children.
      I tend to think that the person who just spurts out the word racist is approximately 50% of the time usually a d-bag who hasn’t thought things out. Its a really easy to say something like that, and a lot harder to try and take it back.

  6. SD says:

    Re the carragher comment…didn’t bruce arena say the same thing? Carragher probably wants to see england get better and stop having forreigners take places away from the english…the problem is he’s a bit misguided…perhaps, england should change the development system….the US fashioned its early development structure like the english system and they realized way before england that the system wasn’t successful. Now that the US is following the development system of germany (for example), we have seen an improvement in players….also, better talent in mls has helped.

    If players aren’t pushed by better competition, they won’t get better…

    • Yankeedom says:

      I’ve always been fascinated by the different developmental systems employed by the various countries. Is there a good informational source out there which outlines the difference between the English and German developmental systems?