Rooney eager to have finals say
After failing to produce his best form in Germany and South Africa, Wayne Rooney is desperate to show the planet just how good he is at next year's World Cup.
Rooney put on a top performance against Poland on Tuesday night, scoring the opening goal in the 2-0 win which guaranteed England's passage to Brazil.
Rooney has enjoyed a free-scoring run through must of his international career, but he has had to endure two miserable World Cups.
In Germany 2006 Rooney was troubled by that famous metatarsal injury in the run-up to the tournament, but despite crying "the big man is back" when declared fit, he did not score at the tournament and suffered the ignominy of being sent off against Portugal in the quarter-finals.
Four years later Rooney also failed to score in South Africa and he also drew criticism for an on-camera tirade against the England supporters who booed the team following their dismal draw against Algeria.
But now he is determined to light up next year's tournament in Brazil.
"I'm very determined to do that," the striker said.
"That is what I have wanted to do in all the other tournaments and it hasn't happened. I have always been determined to do well and I want to try to help England be successful.
"I won't put any added pressure on myself but obviously I want to try to perform."
Rooney made his England debut 10 years ago in a friendly against Australia.
Since then he has seen many stars like David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry pass through the ranks - but despite that talent being available, England have barely threatened to end their long wait for a second major international trophy.
Rooney has five Premier League winner's medals in his collection, but international success is something he dearly craves.
"This is my 10th or 11th year playing for England so the obvious goal is to try to be successful and win trophies so that would obviously be the icing on the cake," he said.
"Hopefully I still have got time on my hands when I can do that."
Since the likes of Beckham, Paul Scholes and Michael Owen retired, Rooney has had to shoulder the responsibility of being England's leading talisman at major tournaments.
But having seen the impact of Andros Townsend against Montenegro, Rooney feels that pressure will not lay squarely with him in Brazil.
"The younger players have taken that off me now," he said with a smile.
"We have got so many exciting players, you look at Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Andros Townsend coming in, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere... there is a mix of talent so it's important we can use all them and the qualities they have got to try to be successful."
Now with 86 caps and 38 goals to his name, Rooney is very much one of England's elder statesman.
He therefore feels he has a big role to play in the development of the fresh faces within the camp.
"I think I've always been quite vocal in the dressing room but obviously, there are a lot of young players in there," Rooney said.
"So it's down to us all really to help them because, especially towards the end of games like the one against Poland, when we've got to see it out, it's vital that we have the players who've been there and done it who can help them.
"The young players who have come in have been great and given us a real excitement going forwards."
With England currently languishing in 17th in the FIFA rankings, they will not be seeded for Brazil and Rooney is expecting a tough group when the draw is made in December.
"When you get through to the World Cup there are no easy games, no easy groups," he said.
"The games are all pressure games and you have to make sure you are at your best to win them to get through so you know it's going to be tough."
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