Roy Hodgson backs Wayne Rooney for starring role

The Manchester United attacker has often disappointed with his country at major tournaments but will play a big role in Brazil, according to his manager.

England manager Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney to star at the FIFA World Cup, comparing the striker to a Hollywood actor.

The Manchester United forward has failed to make his mark at a major tournament with England since UEFA Euro 2004, but heads to Brazil without any injury concerns or suspensions.

Hodgson understands that Rooney will be under pressure to produce a career-defining display on the international stage.

"I'm sure it must be the same for Hollywood film stars," he told members of the English press. "I'm sure you make your first film and nobody knows much about you and you get some good reviews - but one day you're going to be Al Pacino, you’re going to be Jack Nicholson.

"And suddenly - then you've got to make a f*****g good film!"

Rooney has regularly carried the hopes of a nation on his back, but Hodgson believes a strong supporting cast could help ease the burden this time around.

"I'd like to think the squad we've picked is a very good one, with lots of exciting players and Wayne could benefit from having those around him," he added. "He won't have to shoulder the total burden of goalscoring and goal-making that he has at previous tournaments.

"There are plenty of players out there for us who can score or make a goal so if I was Wayne Rooney, I'd be thinking 'Right, this is looking good, I’ve got good players around me, this is a great opportunity for me'."

England begins its World Cup campaign against Italy in Manus on June 14.