Bad news for Kazakhstan! Rooney's still raging over United agony in Rome
04 June 2009 04:26
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Wayne Rooney is relishing the chance to get his Champions League disappointment fully out of his system.
Defeat by Barcelona in Rome gave the Manchester United player a taster of how good Spain will be at the World Cup next year, a tournament England will be within sight of if they beat Kazakhstan at the weekend and Andorra on Wednesday.
It was just over a year ago that John Terry overcame his devastation at club level and scored on his next England appearance and Rooney is hoping to do the same.
'We were disappointed to lose the game,' Rooney said. 'To be honest, we decided to forget about it the next day and try to concentrate on these England games.
'I'm delighted now I have a chance to put that to the back of my mind. It would be nice to get a win with England and a goal or two. We're looking forward to this game.'
A comfortable victory is expected at Central Stadium in Almaty, although the bigger picture is Fabio Capello gelling a team ready for South Africa next year.
Rooney's role is as a forward, just behind Emile Heskey, until he interchanges mid-match with Steven Gerrard on the left flank.
'We've worked on it a lot,' Rooney said. 'We've spoken, me and Steven, and we're enjoying it. We're getting involved. We're scoring goals, making goals. Hopefully that can continue.
'I've really enjoyed it. Emile has done a great job holding the ball up and it gives the likes of me and Steven the chance to get in space, get on the ball and do what we like doing best - scoring goals and creating goals. That is how it's been for the last few games.'
It is the system that will look to get the best out of Capello's most creative players and hopefully match the likes of Spain's Xavi and Andres Iniesta, who Rooney faced last week.
'They were far the better team on the night,' Rooney said. 'I think they played the same way as Spain play. They're the best team in Europe and some of the players they've got are the world's best.'
Kazakhstan is a trip to the unknown for the England squad in their most draining competitive fixture since the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
The grass at the stadium could be longer than Premier League standards and there is also the effect of jetlag after flying to a country that borders with China, with Rooney combating it by staying awake on the flight over and getting a long sleep on arrival.
What Capello does know is that the hosts will play a pressing game as they did at Wembley when they went into the interval goalless.
The England boss has shown his squad a DVD of that game ahead of the trip east.
During their defeats Kazakhstan have been competitive for over an hour and in their last Group Six loss, to Belarus, took the lead into half-time.
'When we played them at Wembley it was a difficult game, they created a few chances and surprised us really,' Rooney said.
'It's going to be difficult. Obviously, we expect to win but know it won't be as easy as people think. We need to be focused and do our job - which is three points.'
On a personal level, Rooney has been in top form for England and has seven goals in his last five games.
It takes his tally to 21 and he is hoping to start scoring consistently rather than in clusters.
'To be honest, I'm not too sure why that happens,' he said. 'It's something I want to put right and try to be more consistent in front of goal when I'm on runs when I'm not scoring.'
Adding to his tally may be a motivation for Rooney but he does not feel there needs to be any extra incentive other than getting closer to South Africa.
'It's not too difficult to focus because it is two World Cup qualifiers for your country and a massive opportunity to qualify so I'm looking forward to it,' he said.
'Six points from these two games and then we are a win away from qualifying. That is our aim, to try to do that. That would be brilliant for us to start preparing for the World Cup.'