LONDON - Wayne Rooney is set to miss England's high-profile friendly against Spain next month and has risked losing his starting place at the 2012 European Championship altogether after his petulant sending-off against Montenegro.
The Manchester United striker was shown the red card in the 74th minute of Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier for kicking out at Montenegro defender Miodrag Dzudovic after losing possession.
Rooney will be suspended for at least one group game at next year's tournament and England coach Fabio Capello has given no guarantees the striker will return to the team when his ban is over.
England plays world and European champion Spain in one of two friendlies at Wembley in November, before a match against the Netherlands in February. Details have yet to be finalised of the other November game.
"Rooney will not play against Spain. I want to test new players, a new style and different movement," Capello said. "Sometimes he will come on at halftime (in the friendlies). But not from the start. He will not start. We need to prepare the first XI who will start in the Euros.
"I have got a lot of forwards at this moment, really good forwards, and I need to find the best solution."
Asked if he was prepared to leave Rooney out if a replacement impresses, Capello said: "Yes. In my life as a manager I have put on the bench a lot of players. I always decided who was the best player at that moment."
Given Rooney is one of the world's best players when in form, it was quite a big statement from Capello, who will use England's three upcoming friendlies to test out alternatives up front.
"I need to find the solution for the first game, or two games, that Rooney will not play (at Euro 2012)," said Capello, whose side qualified for the Euros with a 2-2 draw at Montenegro. "And if we find that solution, he needs to work to return to the first 11.
"You know me. Sometimes I make mistakes, but I try to select the best players, in the best moment of form."
Darren Bent started up front alongside Rooney on Friday, scoring the second goal, while Capello also has in-form United striker Danny Welbeck, Liverpool's Andy Carroll and Fulham's Bobby Zamora as options.
Capello said Tottenham's Jermain Defoe and young Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, neither of whom were in the squad for the Montenegro match, have been attracting his attention after impressive recent displays in the Premier League.
Rooney will find out the extent of his Euro 2012 ban on Thursday. UEFA said Monday that its disciplinary panel will study the England forward's case at a scheduled meeting and consider increasing his mandatory one-match ban for violent conduct.
Rooney could be ordered to serve a three-match ban, excluding him from the entire group stage of the tournament, which will be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.