Gerrard backs Rooney
Wayne Rooney (AFP)
Cape Town - England captain Steven Gerrard on Thursday backed Wayne Rooney to come good against Algeria, calling him the best player in the world last season.
Rooney failed to hit the net in Germany four years ago having only just recovered from a broken metatarsal bone and he never threatened to open his account in England's opening 1-1 draw with the United States in South Africa.
His preparation for this tournament was hampered by the after-effects of an injury he suffered in the Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich which contributed to Manchester United's exit from the competition.
But Gerrard said Rooney was now looking good in training and the goals would follow soon.
"He is looking great in training and it is only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net," Gerrard said ahead of England's must-win clash with Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.
"This season he has been the best player in the world as far as I'm concerned and it is only a matter of time before we see that here at the World Cup."
Rooney plundered 33 goals for United last season, but denied on Wednesday that he was feeling any pressure to break his duck on football's biggest stage.
"Not at all," he said. "We've got players in the team who can score goals. For us to do well, I need to play better than I did and to score goals.
"But I don't feel under extra pressure. If we win the next two games I'll be happy. I'm not worried. If I don't score in the next game I'll just keep working until I do."
Gerrard, meanwhile, said he would be happy if coach Fabio Capello decides to deploy him in a more attacking role against Algeria.
Capello has said that Gareth Barry is fit again and will play, which should mean the Liverpool midfielder returning to a more offensive position.
"I am happy whatever formation we play. If I play in a more forward role, a more attacking role, then that suits me and I'm looking forward to it," he said, adding that the team was confident of a convincing victory on Friday.
"The preparations are going well and we hope to get a good, convincing win against Algeria."