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European Qualifiers Group E

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European Qualifiers Group E

Gerrard: Rooney is our spark

England captain Steven Gerrard is backing Wayne Rooney to score the goals that will secure a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Last Updated: 27/03/13 at 15:53 Post Comment

Steven Gerrard: Wayne Rooney can fire England all the way to Brazil

Steven Gerrard: Wayne Rooney can fire England all the way to Brazil

Rooney scored his 35th international goal against Montenegro on Tuesday but after a second-half rally from the home side it was only enough to secure a 1-1 draw in a vital Group H clash.

The Manchester United striker spent much of the run-up to the game in the spotlight as he was sent off for violent conduct in his previous game against Montenegro 17 months ago, but he silenced the crowd with an early header from Gerrard's corner.

England's failure to hold on to their lead means they will most likely need to win their last four games to win the group but Gerrard says that is not a task beyond the squad.

Gerrard said: "Wayne is a fantastic player and a great goalscorer. If the lads in the team can create the service for Wayne, we know he will score goals.

"He also deserves credit for that goalscoring record. Hopefully he will get more goals and fire us to the World Cup.

"I also thought his behaviour was magnificent. He had been on the agenda in the press all week with people wondering how he was going to behave. I thought he handled himself magnificently and got us that important goal."

Gerrard admitted there was a deal of frustration within the squad that they had failed to back up their solid first-half performance after the interval, finishing strongly after a spell in which Montenegro could have scored more than the single goal they managed.

"There is an element of frustration there but this result is not the end of the world. It is still in our hands," Gerrard added. "We are disappointed with periods of the game but we are also very happy with the first-half performance. If we can get that for 90 minutes, we believe we can still qualify.

"We will have to wait and see how the other teams do in their fixtures but we are more than capable of winning the last four matches."

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