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Rooney's shadow over Beckham and Yorke

By Trevor Huggins
June 14, 2006 10:51 IST
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Manchester United's former European Cup winners will meet on opposing sides when David Beckham's England face Dwight Yorke's Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup on Thursday.

Old Trafford's current favourite, Wayne Rooney, could complete the timeline in the unlikely event of England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson deciding the striker was match fit after a broken foot.

Eriksson's men go into the game in Nuremberg looking to follow up Saturday's 1-0 victory over Paraguay with another win that would book them into the second round.

A draw later between Paraguay and Sweden would then ensure England top the group and allow Eriksson to rotate his squad -- and notably give Rooney a try-out against the manager's home country on June 20.

In the meantime, the spotlight will fall on Beckham, Yorke and Gary Neville, who all shared in United's famous Champions League night of glory in Barcelona against Bayern Munich in 1999.

"We won Premierships, FA Cups and the European Cup and he was a huge, huge part of that team in that year," Beckham said of Yorke, now 34 and given more of a playmaking role for his country.

"He is a good friend of mine and he is one those people who, whatever happens to him in his life and his career, he has always got a smile on his face."

Beckham, in a rich vein of form and the architect of England's laboured win on Saturday, will also need watching.


His wicked free kick, turned into his own net by Paraguay skipper Carlos Gamarra, is just one of the threats England will look to pose Yorke's Soca Warriors, who showed their mettle in a 10-man 0-0 draw with Sweden.

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'Yorke is the threat'

Towering striker Peter Crouch will meet his physical match for the first time in his career, though, when he tangles with defender Dennis Lawrence, who is also two metres tall.

The Warriors, most of whom are from lower-league British clubs, will present a real physical challenge in what are forecast to be steamy conditions.

They will also be looking for another virtuoso performance from goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who said he could die happy after his heroics against Sweden.

The West Ham United keeper will be pitched against no fewer than three former team mates from their spells at Upton Park -- Joe Cole, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

Probable Teams:

England (4-4-2):

1-Paul Robinson; 2-Gary Neville, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 6-John Terry, 3-Ashley Cole; 7-David Beckham, 8-Frank Lampard, 4-Steven Gerrard, 11-Joe Cole; 10-Michael Owen, 21-Peter Crouch

Coach: Sven-Goran Eriksson

Trinidad & Tobago (4-4-2):

1-Shaka Hislop; 6-Dennis Lawrence, 5-Brent Sancho, 8-Cyd Gray, 11-Carlos Edwards; 12-Collin Samuel, 7-Chris Birchall, 18-Densill Theobald, 15-Kenwyne Jones; 14-Stern John, 19-Dwight Yorke

Coach: Leo Beenhakker

Referee Toru Kamikawa (Japan)

Linesmen: Yoshikazu Hiroshima (Japan), Kim Dae-Young (South Korea)

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Trevor Huggins
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