Wayne Rooney doesn't scare us, insist England's opponents Montenegro

09 October 2010 07:25
Nothing to fear: Wayne Rooney does not scare Montenegro

Wayne Rooney and his England team-mates must face a Montenegro sideon Tuesday buoyed by a run of three straight victories which has seenthem grab an improbable place at the top of their European Championshipqualifying group.

They may be one of the smallest countries in the competition buteven the prospect of a frustrated Rooney being let loose on them holdsno fears.

'We respect England, but we can beat England,' said Montenegro centre-back Miodrag Dzudovic.

'We don't fear them and we don't fear Rooney.

'We know who he is, one of the best players not just in Europe butin the world, but we know he's not been playing well for many games andthat gives us more hope. In football, everything is possible.'

Rooney has missed Manchester United's last two games as his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has sought to protect him from himself.

An ankle injury sidelined the striker while stories in his privatelife raged around him, and his England place against Montenegro wasinitially in doubt.

Yet Rooney has been desperate to play and, with just two goals tohis name for club and country this term, he will be determined to provea point.

But even that prospect cannot burst the Montenegro bubble.

'I cannot believe what is happening,' said right-back Stefan Savic. 'We never thought this was possible.'

He is not alone. Montenegro's population is only 672,000. To put that in context, the 12,000 who packed out the City Stadium in Podgorica on Friday for their 1-0 win against Switzerland represented almost two per cent of the population.

Their form may not suggest it, but Montenegro are minnows in a literal sense.

'We go to London without pressure and we can surprise them,' Savic added. 'But we're not just going for the shopping.'

The prospect of a trip to London alone is enough to excite Dzudovic.

'Wembley is the most famous football stadium in the world,' he said. 'It's like a holiday for me. It's a life-changing experience to play at Wembley and I'm pretty happy about that. I will do my best to make it the best game of my career.

'We got to Wembley to play football. It's a pity we have injuries to players like [Stevan] Jovetic, [Nikola] Drincic and [Savo] Pavicevic, but we can go on the pitch to fight and play with pride. 

Driving force: Mirko Vucinic (left) is the closest thing Montenegro have to Wayne Rooney

'We can go to England with belief. Stopping Rooney and everybody else is not just about me, but about the whole team. We must defend as a team and if we show enough quality as a team we can beat England.

'But even one point would be a dream for us. In the last qualification we lost too many times but now we have balance and we're getting the results.'

Montenegro's closest player to Rooney is Mirko Vucinic, who in terms of style of play and profile resembles his country's equivalent of the Manchester United forward.

He may not be at his best for his club, Roma, at the moment but on Friday he was superb, not only scoring the goal but also running the game with an elegant blend of power and finesse.

Vucinic has a reputation for being difficult with the media, but on the pitch he is an inspiration.

Vucinic celebrated his goal with a bizarre celebration, removing his shorts and placing them over his head, but he was modesty personified afterwards.

'I'm not the match-winner,' he said. 'We're all - players and fans - the match-winners. We had two or three chances in the first half and at the end we were lucky, but luck is always on the side of the brave.'

Team-mate Branko Boskovic said: 'Vucinic is very important for us. He is physical and technical and can score from anywhere. He is like Rooney. I know Rooney has had problems but for him the field is an escape. We must be careful of him.'

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Source: Daily_Mail