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  • Founded: 1872
  • Manager:Roy Hodgson
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Sven tips strikers to shine

20 Jun 2006 - 08:20:12

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has predicted that Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen will enjoy a fruitful partnership in the rest of the World Cup, starting with Tuesday's Group B clash with Sweden.

Rooney returned to action after almost seven weeks on the sidelines when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago while Owen has played on only a handful of matches in 2006.

After starting with Peter Crouch in attack for England's first two group games, Eriksson is happy to revert to a Rooney-Owen strikeforce against his home country.

"They play well together. With Rooney as his partner, Owen can stay up front even more with Rooney acting as the link man," said Eriksson.

"All strikers need goals. When they're not scoring, they complain about the service. I've heard that for 40 years but Owen's right, we have been playing too many long balls.

"Rooney looks sharper in training and is close to being back to his best. I think any opponent would be worried about facing him. It's not the same if you have Crouch or Rooney on the pitch. The football world knows that. I don't think anyone wants to meet Rooney.

"If I said including Rooney concerns me, people will think I'm crazy and I'm not crazy I hope. We all want Rooney on the pitch - it doesn't matter if you are a Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal fan.

"We want to win the group but at the same time have players available for the knockout stage. We'll prepare the team to win. It's best because you have more days rest as well.

"It's difficult to play against Sweden. They are very strong and know everything about English football. We played against Australia once and that was a big mistake with the number of England-based players. It's the same with Sweden."


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