Wayne Rooney is on a mission in France to end England’s “disappointing” record in major tournaments, and the captain genuinely believes the nation can go all the way at Euro 2016.
England have never made a final of the European Championships, with just two semi-final appearances (1968, 1996) to their name.
Since their last semi-final appearance on home soil in 1996, England have faced three group-stage exits in major tournaments, while they failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
Rooney has competed in six tournaments for England since making his debut in 2003, but his only knockout win came against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup, and the Manchester United skipper is out to end their disappointing cycle.
“You don’t play for the achievement of getting to a quarter-final. What would me and the other players get out of that?,” the 30-year-old said ahead of their quarter-final tie with Iceland on Monday.
“We want to win it and that’s the aim. I am not going to sit here and say we are a group of young players, so we’ll be happy to get to the quarter-finals, the future’s bright over the next two-four years.
“We are here and we want to win it. Whether it happens remains to be seen, but we are not going to say that getting to the quarter-finals will be a sign of progress. I believe we are better than that.”
He added: “In my time, playing for England in tournaments has been disappointing, because we haven’t gone further in knockout stages
“But I feel we have a chance of doing really well in this tournament. It’s going to be tough but we are confident, we have a very good team.
“I don’t want to be remembered as a captain who wasn’t good for his team, wasn’t good for his team-mates and wasn’t good for his club or country.
“I want to be a success and I think with everything I have done I have always wanted to be successful and I want to be a successful captain for both Man United and England, so I still feel I have got time to do that with England and hopefully it will be in the next few weeks.”
While Rooney has been in good form for England, one man who has had a difficult time in France is Harry Kane.
The Tottenham striker – who won the Premier League golden boot in 2015-16 – failed to find the net in the group stages, but Rooney believes the goals are coming.
“I think it is difficult [for Kane] because I have seen it a lot throughout my career, especially at Manchester United when you play as a striker and teams sit back so it is very difficult,” he said.
“It is difficult to get touches of the ball, to get that yard to get your shot in. I think it is important to be patient. You don’t have to try and do everything when you get the ball. You have to be patient. Your chances will come.
“Harry knows he is a goal away from everything changing. He knows he has the potential to win us the game on Monday, to win us the quarter-final. He is a special player and is a natural goalscorer. A great finisher.
“If he gets chances he will score goals and hopefully those chances will come.”
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