Script Written For Rooney's World Cup
Manager Roy Hodgson has said that he feels the script is now written for Wayne Rooney to really shine on the international stage and put previous World Cup disappointments behind him.
In quotes carried by the Manchester Evening News Hodgson said the pressure that Rooney was under was equivalent to that of a film star like Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson, but with the 28 year old looking set to be in top shape for this coming tournament, Hodgson has tipped him to rise to the occasion.
Having missed the end of Manchester United's season and with memories of a suspension and injury hit last two World Cups, the gaffer believes that Rooney will be out to make a point.
'I don't think going into this tournament we've got anything to fear in terms of Wayne's commitment, fitness and desire. In that respect, maybe, if you compare to 2012 when he couldn't play for the first two games and was disappointed and frustrated, it's looking better for us.'
Hodgson goes on to say that in his mind we have picked a team that is good, a team that should be exciting and one which can compete at this level, and he thinks that should also be a boost for Rooney because he knows he has some very good and committed players around him and to 'help him.'
'He won't have to shoulder the total burden of goalscoring and goal making. There are plenty of players out there who can score a goal, or make a goal. If I was Wayne Rooney, I would be thinking 'right, this is looking good, I am feeling good, I have good players around me, this is a great opportunity for me.' I am confidence he will give us the best he has got.'
As for the film quip, Hodgson says that when you are starting out nobody knows you and might get a few good reviews, but when one day you are an Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson, the pressure and expectation shifts to 'you better make a f***ing good film' and that's what Rooney has had to put up with since day one really and he knows those expectations and what people 'demand' but being older and wiser now, he should also be able to channel that into helping his raise his own game to being the very best he can.
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