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The 29-year-old also hailed team captain Gerrard for his brilliant displays, while adding that the return of the Manchester United hotshot has also lifted the squad

Joleon Lescott has praised Wayne Rooney's goal-scoring return for England, suggesting his presence alone was enough to lift the squad.

The Three Lions defeated co-hosts Ukraine 1-0, thanks to the Manchester United man's header, to leapfrog France, who lost to Sweden, and claim top spot in Group D to set up a meeting with Italy in the quarter-finals.

The 29-year-old defender indicated that having players of Rooney and Steven Gerrard's calibre gives the team confidence and creates a positive mood in the camp, while he is looking to use his Premier League success with Manchester City as a platform for international success.

“Wayne is a world-class player with a presence on the field," the centre-back told reporters. "You know he can score at any time, even though it was probably one of his simplest finishes against Ukraine.

“But him just being out there creates a better atmosphere, while Steven Gerrard was also outstanding again.

“When you have people like Wayne and Stevie, with what they have achieved in their careers, I don’t think they are going to play any game thinking it would be an achievement just to qualify.

“They are winners and it leaks into the squad. For me, winning the Premier League this season at Manchester City helps. I just want to go on and progress.”

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