Roo: I’ll play anywhere for England

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Published: Sunday 7th September 2014 by The News Editor

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Wayne Rooney does not care what anyone is saying about him – all the England captain is concerned about is leading his country to success.

The forward has been the subject of scrutiny ever since breaking onto the international scene as a fresh-faced teenager 11 years ago.

The intensity of that focus has recently gone up a notch following the retirements of the so-called ‘Golden Generation’ and his new role as Three Lions captain.

Rooney’s 96 caps make him far and away the most experienced player at Roy Hodgson’s disposal, but one whose position in the side is constantly spoken about.

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle got in on the act ahead of Monday’s European Championship qualifying opener in Switzerland, saying they need the Rooney of old.

Such comments compound constant talk about where the Manchester United player is best deployed – not that the 28-year-old himself gives a hoot.

“That is not something I don’t expect,” he said of the constant spotlight. “Obviously I feel like I am quite an adaptable player. I can play in a number of positions.

“Wherever Roy wants me to play, I am happy to play. It is as simple as that.

“I am not interested in what anyone else thinks. I am here to play for England. Roy’s the manager, he picks the team.

“I’ll play to the instructions the manager wants me to do.”

Reports on the eve of the match suggested Rooney will be used on the left wing in Basle, despite the role of frontman being up for grabs following Daniel Sturridge’s injury.

Arsenal new boy Danny Welbeck, instead, could be chosen to lead the line after impressing as a second-half substitute in Wednesday’s uninspiring 1-0 friendly win against Norway.

Rooney admitted England were “really bad” at the start of the second half and said that dampened the already subdued mood at half-full Wembley.

The match attracted the lowest attendance for an international since the stadium opened in 2007, with the players’ underwhelming display compounding post-World Cup negativity.

“That was always going to happen coming off the World Cup and how that went,” said Rooney, whose penalty decided the match.

“Every game now is a tough game and sometimes you’ve got to be happy with a victory, which we were. We were happy we got the win, which we set out to do.

“We are focused on (Monday’s) game. We’re ready for it. We’ve obviously had a few more days to prepare for this game than we did for the Norway game.

“We know this is a big game, the first game of the qualifying campaign.

“It is obviously not going to determine who is going to finish top of the group, second or whatever, but we know it is important to come away with a good result.”

To do that, Rooney knows England they have to “learn to be more ruthless” and to “see games off” such as Monday’s clash at St Jakob-Park.

Opponents Switzerland are ranked ninth in the world and head into the match as bookmakers’ favourites for the Group E opener.

“I think it is great that we’ve sold out all of our tickets and I am sure all the England fans will be right behind us,” Rooney said.

“We know the Switzerland fans will be really up for the game, so it will be a great atmosphere.

“Hopefully we won’t let the fans down and we can go and get a good result.”

Published: Sunday 7th September 2014 by The News Editor

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