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Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is expected to be out of action for up to eight weeks after suffering a hairline fracture of his left foot.

Rooney was injured in Sunday’s goalless Premier League opener with Reading.

“We are putting it at two months. He should be back training in that time but I can’t put an exact date on when he will be back playing,” United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said.

“It is a bad blow, not just for us, but obviously for England as well.”

“I am obviously disappointed and I could sense Steve McClaren’s disappointment as well,” Ferguson said.

“It is obviously bad news for England but they should be able to cope without him against Israel and Russia – and by the time we get to the October matches I would expect him to be back by then.”

The injury means that the striker is doubtful for England’s autumn programme of Euro 2008 qualifiers.

England coach Steve McClaren will be forced to cope without Rooney for the forthcoming matches against Israel on 8 September and then Russia four days later, and he may be without the player for the games agianst Estonia on 13 October and Russia on 17 October.

Rooney suffered his latest injury when Reading defender Michael Duberry accidentally stood on his foot towards the end of the first half of the match at Old Trafford.

In a statement on their website, United said: “Although Rooney did briefly play on after receiving treatment, Sir Alex Ferguson opted not to risk any further injury by fielding him in the second half, and a post-match hospital scan has validated that decision.

“The result of Rooney’s scan has worsened a frustrating opening day of the season and as yet there is no timescale of his recovery.”

Although the full details of Rooney’s current injury are yet to be confirmed, this will be the third time the striker has broken a metatarsal bone in his foot.

He was injured in England’s quarter-final against hosts Portugal on 24 June at Euro 2004 and did not return for 96 days afterwards. He suffered a similar injury playing for United against Chelsea on 29 April 2006, returning in time for England’s World Cup campaign.

With Man Utd only drawing, & Liverpool, Arsenal & Chelsea all winning the Premiership outright market has a tighter look to it. Click here to view current BestPrice odds!

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