Rooney: Qualifiers more important

Wayne Rooney has told his England team-mates not to get too carried away with their win over Brazil.

Last Updated: 07/02/13 at 16:40 Post Comment

Rooney: Says games v San Marino and Montenegro are more important

Rooney: Says games v San Marino and Montenegro are more important

Wayne Rooney has told his England team-mates not to get too carried away with their win over Brazil, insisting victory over San Marino and Montenegro next month is far more important.

Rooney scored the first and set up Frank Lampard for his winner as England recorded their first victory in 23 years over Brazil last night.

The win over the five-time world champions raised hopes about Roy Hodgson's chances of leading his team to glory in Brazil next summer, but Rooney is well aware that there have been plenty of false dawns with England before.

The nation's hopes were raised in November 2011 when England beat world and European champions Spain at Wembley, but Hodgson's team could only watch on in envy as Vicente del Bosque's side coasted to glory in Poland and Ukraine the following summer while England were knocked out by Italy on penalties.

For that reason Rooney insists England must keep their feet on the ground and instead concentrate their efforts on following up yesterday's win with two qualifying victories against the far inferior opposition of San Marino and Montenegro next month.

"It's a great feeling to beat Brazil, but the two games next month are more important," the Manchester United striker said.

"It's a great result but at the end of the day it's only a friendly. It's not a competitive game.

"Now it's all about trying to progress as a team. The next step for us is to try to qualify for the World Cup."

Despite the attempt to play down the importance of the win, Rooney could not help but gush with admiration at the way the team bounced back from Fred's equaliser, which came after a second-half mistake by Gary Cahill.

Cahill recovered from gifting the ball to the Brazil striker, and his Chelsea team-mate Lampard sealed the win with a spectacular finish which flew in off a post.

"It was a silly goal to give away from us," Rooney said.

"It could have cost us victory, but to come back and get the win was great for us.

"We might have folded and gone on to lose it so it was a great positive for us. We hung on in there. We showed great desire and fight to get the win."

Rooney acknowledges that the outcome of the game could have been very different had Joe Hart not saved Ronaldinho's penalty early in the first half when Jack Wilshere was harshly adjudged to have handled the former Barcelona man's shot.

"It was great for him to save a penalty, especially against one of the best of all time," Rooney said.

"It was a great moment for Joe. If that had gone in it might have been a different game.

"I am sure that they would have tried to keep the ball and tried to frustrate us but thankfully we got the first goal."

Meanwhile Hodgson has revealed he spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before deciding to let Rooney complete the full 90 minutes.

In the build-up, Hodgson had indicated he would limit the appearances of his Manchester United contingent, mindful of their crunch Champions League encounter with Real Madrid next Wednesday.

"I do try and talk to the managers, especially those who have a lot of players in the squad and make certain I let them know my thoughts on what I'd like to do," said Hodgson.

"When I spoke to Alex, he said Wayne was coming back from an injury and benefits from playing, Smalling too.

"He was more concerned about Cleverley and Welbeck who have played a lot of games and have lots more coming up, not least Real Madrid.

"I might have stolen 15 minutes for Welbeck, but I hope he would forgive me."


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