Carrick withdraws from England squad as Rooney chases Charlton’s record

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has withdrawn from the England squad after picking up a slight calf injury in training ahead of their clash with Switzerland on Tuesday evening. Carrick was an unused substitute in England’s 6-0 victory at San Marino on Saturday but was expected to feature at Wembley after Roy Hodgson’s side secured their place in next summer’s European Championships in France.

Fellow United star Wayne Rooney drew level with Sir Bobby Charlton on 49 goals at the top of England’s all-time goalscoring charts and the striker is likely to play a key role in Tuesday’s side, as he looks to claim the record outright. Rooney will go down as one of the nation’s greatest ever players despite failing to lead his side to a competitive finish in a major international tournament – although there is still time for that to change.

According to England boss Hodgson, Carrick’s injury is unlikely to keep him out long-term but he is doubtful for United’s huge clash with archrivals Liverpool on Saturday. This could give Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal a difficult selection dilemma ahead of United’s biggest fixture so far this campaign.

Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Carrick have jockeyed for just two places in United’s midfield line-up this term but this latest injury setback could determine Van Gaal’s selection at Old Trafford on Saturday. Carrick was a key member of United’s team last season but has struggled to hold down a place in the starting line-up at the beginning of the campaign.

Rooney, meanwhile, has been a regular in United’s line-up this season but has perhaps been their most disappointing player so far this campaign. In fact, the Red Devils captain, who has lifted the Premier League trophy on five occasions since joining the club, has failed to score in each of their opening four Premier League matches. Many supporters have started to criticise Rooney, with some suggesting he may be on his way out of the club in the near future.

Van Gaal simply believes that Rooney is in a rut and his form will come but he is looking like a player short of confidence at the head of United’s lacklustre attack. It would be great for his own game, as well as United’s and England’s, if he can break Charlton’s record as he is bound to become more self-assured once the pressure is off and he can focus on improving his performances before the European Championships start next summer.