Speaking ahead of England’s opening World Cup fixture against Italy, striker Wayne Rooney believes that it is Italy who should be worried given England’s relatively young and talented squad.
Playing in the toughest group in the World Cup, England will have to fight off Italy and Uruguay in order to secure a spot in the knock-out rounds of the tournament. They are clearly not the favourites going into the game against Italy but Rooney believes that they can surprise the likes of Andrea Pirlo with their pace and tempo.
“If I’m being honest, when you play a high tempo they have struggled.”
The striker believes that the lack of speed in the Italian league has made the national team weak in comparison to England and is confident that they can take the game to the Italians.
“The Italian league is nowhere near the tempo of the Premier League. Even when we played AC Milan, with Nesta and Maldini as centre halves, they really struggled when we played a high tempo. If we can do that we can give them problems.”
Reports have suggested that England are looking to control Andrea Pirlo in order to stop the Juventus midfielder from orchestrating the game. He admitted that Pirlo is a ‘fantastic’ player but shrugged off reports that they are concentrating on him in the World Cup opener.
“The Italian players should be looking at us and how they can control our team. We’re not really too focused on Pirlo. He has been a fantastic player and Italy have some great players, but so have we.”
Infact, Wayne Rooney declared that the current national team was the best that he has ever played in and warned the Italians to be wary of younger talents like Sterling and Barkley.
“They should be more worried about our team. It is exciting and the young players bring a lot of energy and excitement. You can see with Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling that there’s no fear with them. They’ll be good players, big players for us.”
“This is probably the best squad of players I’ve been involved with since I’ve been with England.”
Quite surprisingly, Wayne Rooney is yet to score a goal for England in the World Cup but the striker is confident that he will leave his mark in Brazil in the weeks to come.
“If you look at my record in the World Cup qualifiers I had a pretty good record (seven goals). That’s what I have to do at the World Cup. I want to score goals and help England be successful, but I honestly feel better than I have done for years.”
He declared that he was ready for the World Cup and admitted that he has an eye on becoming the highest goal-scorer for England.
“I’m ready for this tournament and I know if I play my game I will do well.”
“At my age I should break the record, but I just want to keep playing and trying to score. If I can get to Sir Bobby’s record it would be a massive achievement and I would be absolutely delighted.”
It now remains to be seen as to what Brazil has in store for Wayne Rooney. Having previously failed to make a mark on football’s biggest stage, he will be keen to fire England out of a particularly dangerous group.