Rooney aware of Uruguay importance

15 June 2014 10:16

Wayne Rooney concedes the clash with Uruguay is a do-or-die encounter for England after losing their World Cup opener.

Despite an exciting and encouraging performance from Roy Hodgson's side, the 2-1 defeat to four-time champions Italy leaves them in desperate need of a victory in Sao Paulo this Thursday.

Opponents Uruguay are in the same position following their shock 3-1 defeat to unfancied Costa Rica, meaning the loser at the Arena Corinthians almost certainly will not make it out of Group D.

It is a fate Rooney is confident the Three Lions will avoid, though, with the attacker sure there will be no mental hangover from the energy-sapping loss in Manaus.

"We have to stay positive," the forward, now at his third World Cup, said. "We obviously need the three points now against Uruguay and we go into that game confident.

"We will take a few of the positives from the game and hopefully that can help us there.

"I think it will [feel like a do-or-die game]. We know if we lose the game we are more or less out, so we have to be positive and go at it in some ways the way we did.

"We went at Italy, I think we lost the two goals at a bad time, really, and we couldn't quite recover from the second one. But we will certainly give it a good go."

Rooney, like many others, believes England were unlucky to have lost to Italy, whose efforts from Claudio Marchisio and Mario Balotelli were impressively-taken goals but avoidable ones.

England had pegged the Azzurri back in the first half through Daniel Sturridge, but paid for the profligacy in front of goal after scoring with just one of their 18 chances.

That is a ratio that will need to be vastly improved against Uruguay, when the Three Lions' defence will also need to substantially up their game if they are to cope with the likes of Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan and, fitness permitting, Luis Suarez.

The Liverpool forward, fresh from the season of his life, was an unused substitute in the 3-1 loss to Costa Rica as he steps up his return from knee surgery and will be hoping to be involved against England.

"We know it is [a game we can win]," Rooney said. "We know they have got some really good individual players and a good team, likewise we do.

"We will be positive, we will go in try and try to get three points and hopefully we can.

"They have got good forwards, the likes of Forlan and Cavani as well. We will prepare for their best team and it will be a tough game, I am sure, but we are definitely confident."

Given the impressive nature of England's attacking display against Italy, Hodgson may well again choose to deploy Rooney on the wing against Uruguay.

The 28-year-old started on the left flank and switched to the right for the second-half, playing in a position he once said he could not fully express himself in.

Rooney looked awkward in the role at times in the Amazon and, while he worked hard and provided a superb assist, often left the full-backs with too much work to do defensively.

Asked if the role gets the best out of him, he said: "I don't know. I enjoyed the game.

"Obviously we lost the game but I was involved in the game, could have scored, created the goal and felt I had an influence, although we lost the game."

Rooney may have enjoyed the match but the same could not be said for the line of some post-match questioning.

Having already snapped at one reporter, he was then unhappy at the suggestion that he may think his place in the starting line-up is guaranteed.

"I've never felt that, I don't know why you said that," he said. "Why would I feel my place in the team is guaranteed?

"I work hard to try and get into that team. I work hard to try and get in that team. I have never said my place is guaranteed.

"I don't expect to play, I work hard. I want to play."

Source: PA