Bocanegra latest U.S. injury concern

ENGLAND England's last home game before the World Cup, a friendly against Mexico at Wembley on Monday, could see Wayne Rooney deployed as lone striker with Steven Gerrard behind him.

"Wayne and I are good friends off the pitch," Gerrard told reporters at England's training camp in Austria where manager Fabio Capello has experimented with Rooney in the solo role. "Before games we are always talking about what where we want each other.

"Football is about relationships on the pitch and because Fabio has given me license to get forward from the left and go inside, he wants me to link with Wayne."

England fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that Rooney and his team mates emerge unscathed from the troublesome Wembley pitch.

The latest injury worry surrounds skipper and defender Carlos Bocanegra who reported to camp while recovering from a hernia injury.

With center halfs Oguchi Onyewu not having played since suffering a knee injury in October and Jay DeMerit having had to deal with an abdominal strain, coach Bob Bradley will be hoping his defense look strong and healthy against the Czechs and then Turkey in Philadelphia on Saturday.


Defender Bosjan Cesar said Slovenia will not be overawed by the finals in South Africa.

"We are neither nervous nor afraid of the challenge because Slovenia have performed on the big stage already," said Cesar, who broke into the country's first team after their group stage exits in Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup.

"We are probably not fully aware of what awaits in South Africa but we are confident because we have enough experience as players to compete in an event like this," he told local media.


Four players remained sidelined at Algeria's pre-World Cup training camp in Switzerland but coach Rabah Saadane told reporters they were not serious injury cases.

Defender Majid Bougherra, midfielders Ryad Boudebouz and Mourad Meghni and striker Rafik Djebbour all missed weekend workouts in Crans-Montana.

"There is nothing serious. These are players who have suffered minor injuries and we only wanted to avoid risk of possible relapse during our training. They will be back with their team mates in two days at most," Saadane said.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)