Bougherra will be ready

Centre-half vows to win fitness race

Bougherra: Calf problem

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Madjid Bougherra insists he will be fit enough to play a leading role for Algeria at the World Cup finals.

The Rangers defender was forced to sit out Friday's friendly date with Republic of Ireland as he continues to nurse a calf injury.

He did, however, take part in light training on Thursday and is edging his way back to full health.

The 27-year-old centre-half expects to play some part in a warm-up game against UAE in Nurnberg next week and is convinced he will make Algeria's opening World Cup fixture against Slovenia.

Bougherra, who played just two matches for Rangers since February's Old Firm derby win, said in the Scottish Sun: "I am fine now and there will be no problem for the World Cup.

Progress

"There's no danger of me missing our opening game against Slovenia.

"I've had problems with the calf injury but everything is good now. They're being careful with me but I'll play in Germany next Friday."

Bougherra is also looking forward to the prospect of pitting his wits against Wayne Rooney in South Africa, with Algeria set to face England in their second Group C game.

He said: "From the moment the World Cup finals draw was made six months ago, I've been looking forward to tackling Rooney. It's the ultimate test for any defender, just as tough as facing Messi or Ronaldo.

"Rooney will be one of the biggest players in South Africa this summer and clearly the biggest threat to Algeria. He's been in great form for Manchester United, and England will rely a lot on him."