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Rooney eyes England leadership role

Wayne Rooney claims he wants to inspire England’s younger players in the same way Eric Cantona did at Manchester United.

Rooney, who has 76 caps for his country, believes that as he must begin to show his leadership qualities at international level and is willing to offer advice to the younger personnel in Roy Hodgson’s squad.

“I hope it is time for me to show I am a senior player and that I can lead the team. I understand the scrutiny I’m under and I have no problems with that,” the United striker told reporters.

“Hopefully in the near future we will be coming out of a tournament and you will all be praising me because we have won a trophy. That would be great for everyone.

“It’s especially important now, when we have a lot of young players in the squad. I always try to speak to them and offer advice.

“I always remember what Sir Alex Ferguson says about how Eric Cantona was such a big help to the younger players at United. It is something I can look at and try do for England, to try to help them. Hopefully I can bring the best out of them and they can bring the best out of me as well.”

After being part of an England squad which suffered a quarter-final exit at the hands of Italy at Euro 2012, Rooney conceded his own performances at international level have struggled to live up to expectations.

“Performance-wise, there have been times when I’ve not done myself justice. I always try to give everything, leave everything on the pitch,” said Rooney.

“Sometimes it happens where you don’t play well but you have tried. It just happens. Whether I have played well or badly. I always try to come off exhausted.

“I’d have liked to have played better for England. For whatever reasons it hasn’t happened. I’d like to know why, because I’ve always worked hard and given everything.

“Looking back at games and tournaments, I know I can do better. Going into the next game, I always feel I am going to play well, and I’m confident. I wouldn’t let the previous tournament or previous game distract me.

“I think I haven’t played at my best but being honest as a team we can do better. So I am not going to win a tournament on my own. We need the whole team.”

England will resume their World Cup qualification campaign on Friday with a home tie against San Marino and are currently second in Group H, level on four points with Montenegro and Poland after two games.

Wed 10 October, 2012
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