Football

Roon for an oscar

Hodgson tips Rooney to put up an 
award-winning show in Brazil next month

Roy Hodgson has likened the pressure Wayne Rooney faces at next month's World Cup to the expectation on Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson to churn out Oscar-winning performances.

Rooney, who missed the last three matches of Manchester United's woeful season with a groin injury, has taken two fitness coaches on his pre-tournament holiday to Portugal in a bid to get fully fit.

The 28-year-old is determined to be in top shape for the World Cup, having rushed back from a metatarsal injury to feature in the 2006 competition before carrying an ankle injury into the previous tournament in South Africa.

Rooney has not scored in his eight World Cup appearances but Hodgson believes the script is written for the forward to shine this time.

"I don't think going into this tournament, we've got anything to fear in terms of Wayne's a) commitment b) fitness and c) desire," he said.

"In that respect, maybe, if you compare to 2012 when he couldn't play the first two games and was disappointed and frustrated, it is looking better for us.

"He won't have to shoulder the total burden of goalscoring and goal-making. There are plenty of players out there who can score a goal, or make a goal.

"If I was Wayne Rooney, I would be thinking, 'Right, this is looking good, I am feeling good, I have good players around me, this is a great opportunity for me'.

"He knows the expectations... all I can say is that I am confident he will give us the best he has got."

Hodgson then likened the expectations of Rooney as similar to those felt by Oscar-winning actors.

"I am sure it must be the same for Hollywood film stars. When you start off, you make your first film and no one knows much about you," said Hodgson.

"You might get a few good reviews, but one day, you're going to be Al Pacino or be Jack Nicholson, and then suddenly, you better make a f***ing good film."

Although Rooney had a dismal campaign at Euro 2012, where he missed the first two matches through suspension, Hodgson believes it will be different this time around.

EURO SETBACK

"The only thing I would ever even dare to talk about Wayne with regard to tournament football is 2012," the Three Lions boss said.

"There he tried very hard, wanted it very badly - you could argue wanted it too badly - but was very hampered by the fact he came injured into the competition and missed the first two games.

"This time, I am going to see a totally different person - hopefully the guy you are describing that burst onto the scene in 2004, because he is only 28 years of age. He is at the best age of his football career.

"I suppose you could say if he was terrific in 2004, he should be even better now."

England are in Group D with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. - PA Sport.


I am sure it must be the same for Hollywood film stars. You might get a few good reviews, but one day, you’re going to be Al Pacino or be Jack Nicholson, and then suddenly, you better make a f***ing good film.

— England manager Roy Hodgson (below) on his expectations of Rooney