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The Italian taskmaster wants a perfect record to take to South Africa…

Striker Wayne Rooney has revealed that Italian coach Fabio Capello wants to extend England's perfect record in World Cup qualifying. The Three Lions have already won eight games from eight and with just two qualifiers left, they have the chance to collect a maximum 30 points.

England face Ukraine in the penultimate fixture, before a tie against Belarus.

"The manager has stated he wants to win all ten games and that is what we are aiming for,'' Rooney explained to ESPN. "He has made it clear to us these two matches are as important as all the other games we have played.

"They are the last competitive games we will play before the World Cup. After that there will be a friendly against Brazil and then another in March."

On the subject of player withdrawals for 'meaningless friendlies' Rooney countered the notion that the English do not take international duty seriously.

"I don't think players do want to withdraw. We are enjoying our football and playing well. Everyone wants to be a part of it, so there is no reason to pull out.''

He continued: "There is something different about this England. We have played some really good football, especially in the qualifying games. The friendlies have not been as good but when we have needed to we have played quite well.''

On being top scorer in the European section of World Cup qualifiers, the Manchester United golden boy noted: "It is a great honour to score for your country. To be the leading goalscorer across the whole of Europe is something I would be very proud of. I am a more mature player now, which is natural. I broke into the England team at 17. Anyone doing that at such an age is going to be passionate.

"Your emotions are going to be really high. It does change as you get older. I am still young now – and I am still learning. But those disappointments don't play on my mind at all. I have more or less forgotten about those tournaments now. I can't change them, so I don't look back.

"I am just trying to focus on the next tournament and to do well there," Rooney concluded.

Alan Dawson, UK