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Gerrard backs Rooney to cope
07 Sep 2010 - 07:30:59
England captain Steven Gerrard doesn't believe Wayne Rooney's performance against Switzerland in Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier will be adversely affected by the allegations concerning his private life.
Rooney was confirmed as a starter by head coach Fabio Capello at Monday's press conference ahead of the game in Basel.
The Manchester United striker has found himself in the media spotlight since allegations about his personal life were made in two Sunday newspapers.
But despite the glare of the media being trained on the 24-year-old striker, Gerrard is confident that Rooney is in the right frame of mind to play against Switzerland.
He set up all three of Jermain Defoe's goals during Friday's 4-0 opening Euro 2012 qualifying victory over Bulgaria in a timely return to form following a disappointing World Cup finals performance.
"I haven't spoken to Wayne about his issues off the field because, to be blunt, they are nothing to do with me," said Gerrard.
"Wayne knows I'm here for him as a friend and also as a team-mate but he seems fine to me.
"He trained well yesterday and wants to play. I just hope he performs to the level as on Friday when he was superb.
"The team certainly need him to play at that sort of level if we are to get the three points we are after.
"When he is on top form, he can score and create goals and win matches on his own."
Speaking about his own handling off-pitch distractions, the Liverpool captain continued: "If you have got issues off the pitch, football can be a release and when the game kicks off you are totally focused on it.
"You have to push off-the-park matters to one side and only come back to them when a game is over but that's the same for most footballers."