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Rio de Janeiro - Striker Wayne Rooney feels England have moved ahead of Italy since losing out to the Azzurri in 2012 European Championships.
The Three Lions are preparing to lock horns with their European rivals in Manaus on Saturday and Rooney is feeling confident ahead of their World Cup opener.
He feels that England's new-look squad will have the perfect chance to measure their progress against an Italy squad that he feels is virtually unchanged.
When asked if he felt England had moved ahead of Italy over the past two years, Rooney said: "I think we have.
"I think the team we've got, not just the team but the squad, is a youthful squad - a lot of energy and excitement.
"In terms of Italy, it's more or less the same squad.
"It'll be an interesting game for us to see how we've moved on and how we've progressed in two years."
Rooney has had a disappointing season domestically with Manchester United is again the topic of conversation in the British media on whether he can spearhead England to glory.
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