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Rooney: Wales more than just Bale

Wayne Rooney believes England should concentrate on Wales’ greater threat, rather than solely the danger posed by Gareth Bale in their Euro 2016 meeting in Lens on Thursday.

Real Madrid star Bale is Wales’ most high-profile player and scored the opener in the 2-1 defeat of Slovakia on Saturday.

And while Rooney is an admirer of the former Tottenham winger, he is wary of focusing all his attention on one man.

“He’s a fantastic player, but Wales have a lot of good players in the team,” he said. “It’s not England versus Gareth Bale, it’s England versus Wales and we have to stop a few of their players if we want to win the game.” 

England go into the match third in Group B, but knowing a win would take them top.

“We’ll have the same mentality as we had for Russia [a 1-1 draw on Saturday],” Manchester United’s Rooney added. 

“We’ve two games left, we’re not going to prepare differently for Wales. It’s the same preparation whether it’s Russia, Wales or Slovakia. It’s down to us as players now. We’ve done our work on the training field and it’s down to us to do it on the pitch.”

“The tournament makes it a special game but we know there are three points at stake, two British teams and we are looking forward to it.

“We’ve prepared well and will give everything to get the three points.”

Wales, and Bale in particular, have been vocal in the build-up, perhaps trying to wind up the England players.

Asked why he thought they had taken that approach, Rooney added: “You’ll have to ask the Wales players that.

“We’ve been preparing for this game as we always do behind closed doors and all the information we need we’ve worked on on the training pitch or in meetings.”

Wed 15 Jun, 2016
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