Pele: Rooney key for England

The three-time World Cup-winning Brazil star believes that the Manchester United forward will be vital for Roy Hodgson's side as they attempt to navigate Group D
Brazil legend Pele has backed England to progress from a tough Group D and expects Wayne Rooney to be their star performer.

The Manchester United man has come under criticism from some quarters ahead of this year's tournament and is yet to score in eight appearances at World Cup finals.

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However, Pele - who won three World Cups during his illustrious playing career - feels that Rooney has what it takes to lead England past Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica and into the last 16.

"I would like him in my team, you know!" he told Sky Sports News.

"Wayne Rooney has not scored [in the World Cup finals] but he was fantastic for the team. He was always the player who fought more for the team. The World Cup is a very short tournament and the experienced players always do well.

"England have a difficult group but I think they could qualify."

On Brazil's chances of lifting the World Cup for a sixth time, Pele is confident that the tournament will end on a high for Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, although he admits that there are a plethora of teams capable of going all the way.

"Always I trust Brazil are going to win the final, it doesn't matter against who," he remarked.

"But, besides Brazil, I see Germany and we have to respect Spain. In South America I think Argentina and maybe Chile - Chile have a good team, they could be the surprise."