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England boss Roy Hodgson says Wayne Rooney can shine at World Cup

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28 Nov 2012 09:56:00

England boss Roy Hodgson says Wayne Rooney can shine at World Cup

Roy Hodgson has tipped Wayne Rooney to be one of the stars of the tournament at the next World Cup in Brazil, but admits the pressure to perform can be too much for even the best players.

Rooney failed to impress at the 2010 World Cup and, after being suspended for the first two games of Euro 2012, barely made an impact in Poland and Ukraine this summer. Hodgson hopes the atmosphere in Brazil will bring out the best in Rooney and has revealed just how determined the Manchester United striker is to leave an impression on the greatest stage.

"Wayne could thrive here on this stage. He's a great player, a player who decides games, and he could be one of the stars of the tournament," Hodgson told The Times on a visit to Rio de Janeiro this week.

"He's an unbelievably talented player who, in his own opinion, still has unfinished business there.

"He would love, I'm sure, to have a great World Cup. He's a player who desperately wants to do well for England and he was desperately proud when I gave him the captaincy against San Marino.

"Nobody wants to do better than him, but of course he bears that burden every time he steps on to the field." There is a huge level of expectation on Rooney and Hodgson appreciates how difficult that can be to handle.

"The whole of England, including the press, expect him to play at the very, very top of his game and sometimes, of course, he can't do that being a human being," explained the Three Lions manager.

"Quite often in World Cups the responsibility falls upon one outstanding player to bring his team through, and it can be too much. I remember 1994; Roberto Baggio was a massive star - I worked with him later at Inter Milan - and the pressure upon him to really deliver for Italy proved a little bit too much.

"At the last World Cup, we all thought Lionel Messi was going to be the man and perhaps he wasn't.

"Quite often the players have had this burden to carry on their shoulders. We've seen it in glimpses, but at the end they maybe haven't quite done so but still rank among the world's greatest players."


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