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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

No fitness worries for award-winner Rooney

LONDON (AP) England striker Wayne Rooney said he will be fit for the World Cup after being voted player of the season by his fellow English league professionals on Sunday.

News photo
People's choice: Wayne Rooney was awarded the PFA Player of the Year award on Sunday in London. AP PHOTO

The Professional Footballers' Association award came a day after Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said Rooney would miss the final two matches of the Premier League title race because of a groin injury, having only just recovered from an ankle problem.

Rooney is hoping to play in the last match against Stoke. United is a point behind leader Chelsea.

The 24-year-old forward maintains he will not miss England's World Cup opener against United States on June 12.

"The groin will be fine for the World Cup, there are no worries about that," Rooney said. "I'm hoping to play for United in the last game of the season."

Rooney, the first Englishman to win the PFA award since Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard in 2006, has dazzled this season after playing in a more central role since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid last June.

"It's a great feeling to win the player of the year award because it's voted for by the players," Rooney said. "I remember coming here in 2005 and 2006 to win the young player of the year. I saw the players winning the main one and it's something I've aimed for since."

Rooney was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year this year, but that award went to Aston Villa midfielder James Milner.

Milner has put himself in contention for England's World Cup squad with a string of strong performances to help Villa stay in the hunt for the fourth Champions League place.

Aulas defends Govou

PARIS (AP) Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has backed the club's troubled player Sidney Govou after the winger was linked to a suspected prostitution ring.

Govou and his France teammates Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema have all featured in newspaper reports about alleged sexual relations with an underage prostitute operating out of a trendy Paris club.

Speaking in a television interview Sunday, Aulas said Govou has been unfairly exposed in the affair.

"They are leaks (to the press), because nothing has been held against Sidney Govou, he has only been interviewed as a witness," Aulas said on weekly soccer show Telefoot. "He convinced me of his good faith and I have every confidence in Sidney for the future."

Govou hopes to play in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. The German club leads 1-0 but will be without Ribery, who is suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

Questioned by police, the prostitute reportedly said she had sexual relations with Ribery when she was 17, and with Benzema when she was 16, but told both players that she was an adult.

If Ribery and Benzema are charged, they would face up to three years in prison and a 45,000 euro ($60,000) fine. Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be over 18 years old, and clients are liable if they are not.

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