Soccer

Terry: Rooney back to best

2011-09-05 13:21
John Terry (File)

London - England captain John Terry believes Wayne Rooney is back in the kind of sublime form that could turn his side into serious contenders for Euro 2012.

Fabio Capello's team can take another giant step towards qualifying for the finals in Poland and Ukraine if they defeat neighbours Wales at Wembley on Tuesday and Rooney will be expected to lead the charge after ending his international goal drought in Friday's 3-0 win over Bulgaria.

Rooney had gone 15 matches without scoring for England before he netted a header from Gareth Barry's corner and then converted an Ashley Young pass in sink the Bulgarians.

As a result of Rooney's double in Sofia, Terry and company need four points from their last two matches to guarantee qualification as group winners.

Terry was delighted to see Rooney transfer his club form onto the international stage and he is confident the Manchester United striker will remain England's main man for the next 10 years.

"Wayne is flying again, he's been excellent all week and he's still very much at the forefront of this side," Terry said.

"Everyone has been talking about younger players and older players but Wayne doesn't really fall into either category. He still has an awful lot to give over the next 10 years, I'm very confident of that.

"He's showed some great early form for Manchester United and just continued that when he linked up with England.

"He's great to have around the camp as well, he never settles for anything less than winning, even in training, and his enthusiasm rubs off on the younger players."

Rooney's renaissance comes just over a year after his lowest moment in an England shirt when he swore at his country's supporters after they jeered him and his team-mates following a dour 0-0 draw against Algeria at the 2010 World Cup.

He insists that bitter moment has been consigned to the past and now he will set his sights on scoring his first England goal at Wembley since September 2009.

"What happened, happened. There's nothing anyone can do to change it, but I'm sure the fans see that when I play I give 110 percent every game," Rooney said.

"They were great again in Bulgaria and I thank them for their support.

"It was a great win and if we can do it again on Tuesday we have more or less qualified. Wales did us a big favour by beating Montenegro. We've got one foot into the finals."

Another inspired performance from Rooney would be a major plus for Capello, who has seen his side fail to win any of their last four matches at Wembley.

Capello is likely to keep faith with the starting line-up that beat Bulgaria, which means Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard will have to settle for a place on the bench again.

Wales are ranked 117th in the FIFA rankings and they looked every bit as bad as that lowly position suggests when England cruised to a 2-0 victory in Cardiff earlier this year.

However, Gary Speed's team finally ended a run of three years without a competitive home win by beating Montenegro on Friday, a result which helped England but could also prove a hinderance to Capello's side if it infuses the Welsh players with renewed belief.

Speed's hopes of causing a major upset would have been greatly improved if Craig Bellamy was available but the Liverpool striker will miss the derby clash through suspension, leaving Tottenham winger Gareth Bale and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey as Wales's most likely match-winners.

"I can't ask for more from the players because their application has been great for me. But I do want them to be more confident, more arrogant, more horrible so they can get that winning mentality," Speed said.

"They are sometimes too nice, someone said they're all ideal sons-in-law, they are all really nice boys making their way in the game.

"But they're very good players too and getting that mentality right can be massive for us."

Read more on:    euro 2012  |  john terry  |  wayne rooney
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