The Manchester United forward believes his country needs to adopt a tougher approach, which he says has benefited other teams against the Three Lions.
Roy Hodgson’s men crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil after suffering back-to-back defeats at the hands of Italy and Uruguay, leaving them with nothing to play for when they meet Costa Rica on Tuesday.
Rooney had defended Hodgson after the team exited the tournament, saying that the Three Lions had made progress under the former Liverpool manager.
But the Manchester United striker acknowledged that there are still improvements to be made and has voiced his belief that England needs to develop a nasty streak as it moves forward.
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“I look at the teams who have won this tournament and you can see that nastiness in them,” Rooney told reporters. “I think we need to get that in us. Maybe we’re too honest. Look at Uruguay the other night, they stopped the game, they committed I don’t know how many fouls — clever fouls, really, to slow the game down.
“I think we’re a bit honest in the way we play. It’s small margins. But those small things can amount to a big thing, in terms of staying in the competition or going out. We have to learn that quickly and adapt to that.”
The 28-year-old finally picked up his first World Cup goal during the defeat to Uruguay after failing to find the target in Germany and South Africa.
The goal saw Rooney move closer to Bobby Charlton’s all-time record for England goals and the striker said he would be disappointed if he failed to become the country’s all-time leading scorer.
“It’s within touching distance,” he said. “I’ll be disappointed if I don’t do it. But this is about the team and I don’t really want to be talking about my chances of breaking records when we’re all hurting. I had a couple of chances [against Uruguay]. I feel like if I’d taken at least one of them, we’d have gone on and won the game. That’s what’s disappointing.”
Rooney currently sits tied for fourth on the all-time list with 40 goals, alongside Michael Owen, and is nine goals behind Charlton.