Nani believes England unlikely to reach Euro knockout stage due to Rooney’s absence

Updated: Jun 05, 2012, 19:28 PM IST

London : Manchester United winger Luis Nani has said England’s chances of reaching at the knockout stages of Euro 2012 would take a massive hit in the absence of teammate Wayne Rooney for the first two matches against France and Sweden.

United’s Danny Welbeck or Liverpool’s big money flop Andy Carroll will replace Rooney against Laurent Blanc’s Les Bleus on June 11, and Nani thinks Rooney’s absence would hit England hard.

“Rooney is a key man and two matches without my United companion could be too much for England. He is angry about his absence because he knows he’s the man to score goals and he won’t be there working for the team,” Nani was quoted as saying.

“I sincerely want England to reach the quarter-finals but it’s not going to be easy. For an England team without Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry is vulnerable because they are suffering in all departments of the team,” he added.

“These players are so important for the team and their replacements are not at the same level. These absences place many doubts about the English for the Euros. England need to make their biggest effort because injuries are destroying the team,” he said.

Nani further added: “It’s incredible to lose so many men each week. England does have players of sensational quality but that does not guarantee success. They must perform as a unit and not depend on individuals.”