Rooney: We can win the World Cup
Published 23:00 26/04/10 By Martin Lipton
Wayne Rooney is ready to end four years of frustration by making the whole world stand up and take notice of his talent in South Africa this summer.
The injured striker can't help Manchester United's bid for the Premier League title at the moment, but he can think forward to June and July and the chance to cap a magnificent personal season with glory on the global stage.
Four years after the infamous fractured metatarsal that had the nation in despair, Rooney's response to his current injury problem will have reassured both Fabio Capello and every Three Lions fan.
"I'm obviously disappointed that I've missed a couple of games over the last few weeks," said Rooney. "But I will be fine and hopefully will play before the end of the season and be ready for the World Cup.
"As far as I'm concerned, there are no problems for the World Cup, none at all.
"I don't like to think of it as a case of me carrying the hopes of the country because we've got a lot of other players in the team who will do a great job for us in South Africa and we've also got a great manager.
"If I do get injured, then so be it - we've got other players who will do the job for us. We have a lot of quality and if I was to get injured that's something we'd have to live with.
"But I do admit it is good to know that people, the fans, look at me in that way."
They do because, as Capello has confirmed privately and publicly, a fit and firing Rooney represents the difference between England travelling to South Africa as genuine contenders or merely going to make up the numbers.
If so, then, for all the previous talk of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it could be the name of Rooney that is at the forefront of the planet's collective mind by July 11.
"I hope this could be the summer when I can put myself ahead of Ronaldo and Messi and show what I'm capable of doing," he said. "Because if that happens then England have to win the World Cup - so I'll be happy on both fronts.
"Seriously, I think we have the squad to do well, to win it.
"Brazil and Spain are favourites and then there are a pack of teams behind them including ourselves who, with a bit of luck, could win this tournament - so hopefully this can happen."