Will England’s Wayne Rooney be ready for the World Cup?  That’s a question that seems to occupy the thoughts of royalty and working stiffs alike, according to the Guardian’s Paul Doyle and Barry Glendenning.

Tax-sponging British anachronism Queen Elizabeth II today fell victim to a cruel hoax perpetrated by Sky Sports News, the satellite television channel owned by the power-mad Aussie who rules much of the figurehead’s former empire. The crown-wearing 80-year-old awoke this morning to discover her nation’s great World Cup hope, Robert Green, was set to miss the entire tournament through injury, and was then rocked by a further setback around noon, when Sky pranksters issued a newsflash claiming portly striker Wayne Rooney would be out of action for six more weeks, meaning he’d play about as much part in the World Cup as Gordon Brown.

Freely-spouted hearsay suggests Buckingham Palace spooks quickly rumbled Sky’s game, and within minutes visibly chastened newscaster Mike Wedderburn returned to air to admit the station had goofed. The truth, it emerged amid much sweaty backtracking, was that a scan on Rooney found the youngster can resume full training six weeks FROM THE MOMENT HE FRACTURED HIS FOOT. That means he could be fit at lunchtime on June 14, when a further scan should confirm his availability for England’s final match, against Sweden on June 20.

The only snag is that the scan will be done in Manchester, lair of belligerent Glaswegian Sir Fergie. However, the feisty knight made a rare swear-free public utterance today to scotch suggestions he’d love to deprive England of their best player. “The most damaging thing which has been said is that we don’t want Wayne Rooney to go,” fumed Fergie. “If there’s one player I want to play in the World Cup, it’s him.”