Xavi: England fine without Rooney

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Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes England will be able to cope with the absence of Wayne Rooney for the group stage of Euro 2012.

The 26-year-old striker will be suspended for the three group matches next summer, having seen red in England's final qualifier for the tournament.

Fabio Capello has taken the step to leave the Manchester United striker out of his squad to face Spain and Sweden in friendlies in order to formulate a plan to make to without him.

The England boss, however, has told Rooney he will be included for the European Championships - if fit - in order to play in the knockout rounds, shod the Three Lions progress.

Xavi, meanwhile, will line-up against Rooney bereft England at Wembley on Saturday, and expects the absence of the United star not to affect the side a great deal.

“In any competition, in the World Cup or in the Euros, England are always among the favourites for the title," he said.

“They are difficult opponents. I certainly would not want them in the first group phase.

"Rooney’s absence is very important for England, but I watch the Premier League and it is the forwards who are the strongest players in England.”

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Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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