Football

I'm ignoring my critics: Roon

Wayne Rooney. PHOTOS: AFP

Wayne Rooney could not care less about the critics who say he should be dropped from the England team.

The 28-year-old's place in Roy Hodgson's starting 11 has been in doubt due to the striker's lack of fitness and poor showing against Peru last Friday.

The Manchester United forward gave the perfect riposte to his detractors by impressing in the 2-2 draw against Ecuador in Miami's Sun Life Stadium yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Despite being played out of position on the left flank, Rooney put in a dynamic display and caused Ecuador problems with his pace. He also scored to cancel out Enner Valencia's opener.

Paul Scholes and Gary Lineker appeared to harbour doubts about whether Rooney should be a part of Hodgson's first 11 in Brazil, but Rooney says he does not care.

"I am not really interested," Rooney said when asked about claims he should be dropped.

"A lot of people have their opinions - but I listen to the people around me and in the coaching set-up.

NOT LISTENING

"I don't listen to people outside of the set-up, really, so anyone, journalists can say what they want. I have got no interest in listening to them."

Ever since Rooney burst onto the scene with a series of impressive displays at Euro 2004, he has been bulletproof.

But, with Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley all in form, Rooney no longer commands a first-team slot, as the player acknowledges himself.

"I don't think anyone is guaranteed a start in the team," said Rooney, who is still recovering from the groin injury that kept him out of United's final three matches of the season.

"It is down to the manager to pick the team. I think all (the young players) are (pushing Roy for a start).

"It is a good squad the manager is picking his team from, so the manager will have some tough decisions I am sure and that is down to him to do."

Five years ago, Rooney spoke of his dislike at playing out wide for United, but now, he is happy to play in any position for Hodgson.

He said: "I enjoy playing for my country whether it is left wing, right wing, midfield or up front. I am always proud to play for England and that won't change no matter where I am on the pitch." - PA Sport.

World Cup