Rooney out of England's final qualifier

LONDON: England striker Wayne Rooney will miss Wednesday's final 2010 World Cup qualifier against Belarus after the Manchester United forward picked up a calf strain in Saturday's 1-0 defeat away to Ukraine.

The news is a surprise as Rooney got through the entire game, turning in a decent performance for an England side that was reduced to 10 men after 15 minutes following the dismissal of Robert Green.

Rooney, however, must now undergo treatment in the hope of being fit for United's Premier League encounter with Bolton.

He will also be making the reverse journey to Ben Foster, who was named as Green's replacement given the West Ham keeper is now suspended for the Belarus encounter, one of only three remaining before manager Fabio Capello has to name his squad for next summer's World Cup.

Unless injury hits one of his other four strikers, Capello is unlikely to call in a replacement.

The Italian has the option of pushing Steven Gerrard into a more advanced position, which he plays in so successfully for Liverpool.

Alternatively, he could pair Carlton Cole with Emile Heskey, or possibly Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor, who was an unused substitute on Saturday.

England, with wins in their first eight matches, had already ensured automatic qualification to the world Cup before the defeat to Ukraine as Group 6 leaders.