5th June, 2012
Portugal winger, Nani thinks that the absence of his Manchester United team-mate for England’s first two group games is so colossal that Roy Hodgson’s men may fail to make the knockout stages.
Nani has his own problems negotiating Group B, which includes pre-tournament favourites, Germany and World Cup runners-up, Holland.
But he believes England could find it even harder in Group D, especially in those first two matches against France and Sweden when Rooney will be suspended having been sent off in the qualifier with Montenegro.
United’s Danny Welbeck or Liverpool’s £35million hitman Andy Carroll will replace him against Laurent Blanc’s Les Bleus next Monday.
But Nani, 25, said: “Rooney is a key man and two matches without my United companion could be too much for England.
“Roo 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.
“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.”