All eyes will be on Wayne Rooney when England line up to face Switzerland in the Three Lions’ second match of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign on Tuesday.
But rather than fans wanting to witness the continued return to form of the country’s biggest World Cup disappointment, many will be looking to see how the 24-year-old reacts after allegations about his private life hit the front pages today.
The Manchester United striker was back to his dazzling best against Bulgaria at Wembley on Friday and was at the heart of all England’s four goals, providing the killer pass for three of them.
Rooney also chipped a trademark shot that had to be well saved by the Bulgarian keeper and after scoring his first goal for 14 matches in United’s Premier League game against West Ham, he was looking a great bet to break the deadlock in Basel (9/2).
But the revelations about his personal life could affect that, with commentators already suggesting his poor showing in South Africa was down to such off-the-pitch troubles.
More worrying for England backers is the thought that Rooney might not play at all, with inexperienced duo Darren Bent (7/1 to score first) and Carlton Cole (7/1) the only other fit strikers who could partner Jermain Defoe (9/2).
Peter Crouch has already been ruled out of both games with a back problem, while Bobby Zamora also dropped out with injury.
The BBC is reporting that Rooney will travel with the team to St Jakob-Park, but it if the player, who has 25 goals for his nation, doesn’t feature, then the chance of an England victory (4/5) will surely diminish.
Rooney’s apparent affair follows similar stories about Peter Crouch and earlier John Terry and Ashley Cole as England stars named and shamed by tabloids. With further injunctions out against the reporting of other wavering stars, an England triumph at Euro 2012 (8/1) looks a long way off.