Alex Massie

Wayne Agonistes

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Who knows how bad Wayne Rooney's ankle injury is? Not since Metatarsal Watch in 2006, however, has there been such troubling news for the England camp. One mobs' rain is another lots' sunshine however and the Agony of Wayne's Ankle is a gift to our never under-excited press. We can expect Fleet Street to move into battle with its customary brio. All weapons will be deployed including, but not limited to:

1. Ankle Correspondents. No serious paper can cover this crisis without a specialist Ankle Correspondent. Just as old Afghan hands were hauled out of retirement in the winter of 2001-2002, so their Ankle brethren will return to prominence now.

2. Endless features on Famous Ankles We Have Known and Loved, This Day in Ankle History, Can Ankle Injuries Give You Cancer?, How Gordon Brown Cursed Poor Wayne's Ankle, How Fat is This Ankle?, Princess Diana's Message of Hope for Wayne, Revealed: the German Plot to Cripple England etc etc...

3. The Sun will sign Wayne's injured ankle to write a column during its rehabilitation. "The Only Ankle that Knows! Only in the Sun!"

4. The Mirror will sign Wayne's left ankle to write a column offering insight into what his right ankle is doing. "The ankle that knows Roo's other ankle best! Only in the Mirror!"

5. Webcams. Not of Rooney's ankle, of course, but of ankles injured in just the same manner. Fans will be able to monitor these ankles' recovery in real time and contrast their progress with Wayne's crippled limb. Is Wayne's ankle under-performing? Only AnkleCam will keep you in the picture! Times readers will be charged £1 a day to watch their AnkleCam.

6. Simon Cowell will be enlisted to launch a nationwide search for Wayne's Next Ankle. A rival broadcaster, in association with the Daily Star, will counter with England's Got Ankles!

7. Twitter: 77 different twitter accounts will purport to be Rooney's ankle. The Sun will sue them all for breach of copyright.

8. Should Rooney recover, universal headline: Wayne Pledges: Fritz will Roo the Day

And so on. Readers are invited to contribute their own ideas for how Fleet Street may cover this tragedy...

Standard World Cup Disclaimer: I'd quite like England to do quite well and I think it would be an awful shame, for him and for his country, if Rooney were ruled out. He deserves better and the chance to show his brilliance on the biggest stage of 'em all.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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