England coach Sven Goran Eriksson has confirmed that Everton’s 17-year-old striker Wayne Rooney will make his debut in Wednesday’s friendly with Australia.

The Swede revealed that Rooney will start the second half of tomorrow’s friendly, to become at 17 years and 111 days old, the youngest ever player to represent England, eclipsing James Prinsep, who was 17 and 253 days when he played against Scotland in 1879.

“My plans are that Rooney will start the second half,” said Eriksson.

“Of course it’s an opportunity, a great, great thing for him but I think he deserves it.

“When we decided to play a young team second half, he is one of them and it will be interesting to see him.

“I look forward to that and it’s difficult if you don’t give him the chance to practice.

“We had more or less one hour today and it’s not easy for them – they are not organised in a perfect way but that’s life, they’ve never played together but they are very good players.

“I am in the same boat as lot of other international managers and coaches. You must think about the players.

“We should use them for one half when it’s a friendly game. It’s more important to protect the players. I really want to see a good first half and hope we put the effort into it and don’t think about the FA Cup and Champions League but think about Australia and try and put in a good performance.

“I understand the fans, sponsors and club managers but I’m the only one who can save the club players in a friendly game.”