England World Cup squad profile: Wayne Rooney

The Manchester United man actually had a good season under the circumstances at Old Trafford, but public opinion is at an all-time low and there are calls for him to be dropped
Wayne Rooney will travel to Brazil this summer hoping it will be third time lucky as he looks to finally make an impact at a World Cup with England.

The Manchester United striker burst onto the international scene 10 years ago but has endured two torrid showings on the biggest stage. With the tournament fast approaching, Goal takes a look at how he is shaping up ahead of this summer's finals.


Another season of ups and downs for dear old Wayne. Rarely has a player ever gone through such peaks and troughs with regards to public opinion. Right now he's in a trough. Ask the man on the street if Wayne Rooney is world class and you'll be laughed at. He could be regarded as one of the best in Europe by the end of the year but right now, on the back of a strange season at Old Trafford, his stock is as low as it has ever been.

Ironic really, as he signed a £300,000-per-week deal a few months ago. He suffered an injury towards the end of the season and, as has become customary, has taken his time to recover from it.

He was actually one of United's best players earlier in the season, but good will dries up especially quickly when Rooney is involved.

Seventeen Premier League goals and 10 assists is not to be sniffed at in a team which struggled to find any rhythm whatsoever under David Moyes.

In the absence of Robin van Persie he thrived, and if he hits anywhere near the level he is capable of in Brazil then England can expect at least few goals. The problem, however, is that he hardly has the best form on the biggest international stage...


As mentioned, Rooney made a big splash at Euro 2004 while still just a reasonably fresh-faced 18-year-old, plying his trade for Everton. He scored four goals in the tournament, joint second with Ruud van Nistelrooy in the Golden Boot stakes, finishing just one behind Milan Baros of the Czech Republic.

When he was not scoring he was tearing teams apart with menacing runs, but when he was withdrawn with an injury in the first half against Portugal in the quarter-finals that was the end of England's hopes. We've hardly seen the same Rooney in an England shirt since.

He was famously sent off at the 2006 World Cup after being rushed back from injury and struggling to make an impact, apart from on Ricardo Carvalho's nether regions. In 2010, following arguably his finest domestic season, he was dire. Again he was rushed back from injury but his impact was negligible, and his most famous contribution was hitting out at his own fans directly into a TV camera after an awful draw with Algeria.

Two years later he scored the decisive goal against Ukraine in the Euro 2012 group stages, but only after missing the first two games through suspension for picking up a foolish red card in qualifying. He netted a penalty in the shoot-out against Italy, but the Three Lions went out regardless.

Where to start with this one?! Rooney's divine right to a starting berth is under more threat than ever before. A poor performance in a friendly against Denmark in March set radio phone-ins buzzing with talk that he should not even be taken to Brazil, let alone started.

He has been named in the squad, but after another quiet showing on Friday against Peru he got it in the neck again, with calls for either Daniel Sturridge to take the central role, or even Rickie Lambert, who is high on life having tied up a move to boyhood club Liverpool.

In all likelihood, he will start as the main man, the central striker on whom England's hopes are pinned once again.

While England do have an exciting group of young players, they will be relying on Rooney to lead by example as one of the few potentially world class players in the squad. At 28 he should be in his peak years, and for once he will go into the tournament not majorly struggling for fitness. Let's see what he can do.

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