Rooney set for longer lay-off

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Wayne Rooney is unlikely to play again until early December.

The 25-year-old, who recently signed a new five-year deal, is struggling with an ankle injury that is proving to be more serious than was initially thought when he sustained it during training on 19 October.

Rooney looks set to miss the Champions League matches in November against Bursaspor and Rangers as well as the Premier League encounters with Wolves, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers.

He could return to action in the game at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road ground on December 4.

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Meanwhile, the likes of Chelsea and United have been alerted by Bastian Schweinsteiger’s revelation that he would like to move to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old Germany international is contracted to Bayern Munich until the end of next season but has expressed a desire to try his luck in England.

In cricket, Pakistan duo Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir have had their appeals against suspension turned down by the International Cricket Council.

The two men, as well as Mohammad Asif who later withdrew his appeal, were banned while the ICC investigated spot-fixing claims from this summer’s controversial tour of England.

Butt, Amir and Asif were questioned by British police following allegations published in the News of the World newspaper at the end of August about the final Test against England at Lord’s.

It was claimed that Asif and Amir deliberately bowled no-balls at pre-arranged times during the Test, with Butt also said to be involved, in return for money from a bookmaker’s “middle man”.

England’s rugby league coach, Steve McNamara, believes his young side will benefit from the experience of this month’s Four Nations defeats to New Zealand and Australia.

England’s hopes of reaching the final of the competition in a fortnight’s time ended when they lost 34-14 to the Kangaroos at a very wet Melbourne.

Finally in formula one, Nico Hulkenberg could be handed the chance to stay at Williams for another year despite enduring a largely disappointing 2010 season.

The young German driver has picked up only 18 points from his 17 races this year and was expected to be ditched by the team at the end of this season but team principal Sir Frank Williams is prepared to keep faith with Hulkenberg.