Gerrard backing for Rooney

Captain Steven Gerrard hopes Wayne Rooney can fire England to the World Cup in Brazil.

Last Updated: 15/08/13 at 15:15 Post Comment   

Steven Gerrard: Hopes Wayne Rooney can shine for England

Steven Gerrard: Hopes Wayne Rooney can shine for England

Captain Steven Gerrard hopes striker Wayne Rooney can fire England to the World Cup in Brazil.

Rooney made his first appearance of pre-season - bar a behind-closed-doors friendly with Real Betis - in the 3-2 win over Scotland at Wembley after hamstring and shoulder injuries and amid uncertainty over his future at Manchester United.

The 27-year-old, who has been the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Chelsea and is reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford, did not score, but Gerrard is confident Rooney will return to his best in time for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

England play Moldova and Ukraine, away, in September before the October fixtures with Group H leaders Montenegro and Poland which will decide if Roy Hodgson's men advance to Brazil next summer.

"He's worked his socks off," Gerrard said of Rooney.

"He's in good shape, he's trained well all week. Hopefully in a couple of weeks' time he's a little bit sharper, a little bit more match fit and he can get us the important goals to take us to the World Cup. That's what we all want."

Gerrard, who made his 103rd England appearance against Scotland, also hopes his midfield partnership with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere can continue this autumn after injury limited his progress.

Liverpool skipper Gerrard and Wilshere, who earned his eighth cap, played together for just a second time against Scotland.

"I enjoyed it," Gerrard said. "Partnerships and relationships take time to develop. The more we play, the better we'll get.

"Everyone's got their fingers crossed that we can both remain fit and both be available for the important games."

Although officially a friendly, last night's first England versus Scotland contest in 14 years was reminiscent of a local derby.

It had the intensity of a competitive fixture, if not quite the full quality in the final days of pre-season.

There was plenty of hostility, with the respective anthems booed by opposition supporters, before underdogs Scotland twice took the lead, only to fall to defeat.

"I thought the atmosphere was superb," Gerrard said.

"When the national anthems were sung the hairs on my neck were standing up.

"It was a fantastic game to play in, everything I expected - good atmosphere, high tempo, a few nice tackles and a derby feel.

"It was a good game, good experience."

Gerrard was pleased England twice responded from going behind before Rickie Lambert scored the decisive goal with his first touch in international football, a header from a Leighton Baines corner.

"It's nice to get a win, of course," Gerrard added.

"It's disappointing to concede a few goals. I thought we gifted them the first goal and they scored the second goal against the run of play.

"I thought the team showed great character and belief to get back into it and everyone's smiling after the win because it was a competitive game.

"The Scottish were up for it, they wanted to beat us and fortunately we got the win.

"I think we get confidence and belief in the win. I think we showed, even if we go behind and make a couple of mistakes, we're capable and we've got the players to recover.

"We played some good stuff at times and I thought there was a lot of positives.

"And, of course, Rickie getting the winner, which was fantastic for him. He gives us another option up top moving into the important games."


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