Wayne Rooney has vowed to be fit and ready roar in Brazil this summer as he prepares to spearhead England’s World Cup campaign.
Since bursting onto the scene at Euro 2004 the Manchester United forward has struggled to reproduce his club form on the international stage, particularly at major tournaments.
Rooney was suspended from England’s first two games at Euro 2012 and his most notable contribution at a World Cup came during England’s quarter-final defeat against Portugal eight years ago when he was sent-off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho.
The 28-year-old missed the last three games of Manchester United’s troubled season with a groin injury sparking concerns that a lack of fitness will again undermine his attempts to deliver for his country, but Rooney insists he will be 100 per cent ready.
He told the Daily Mail: "When you go into these tournaments on the back of a serious injury — as I have in the past — you always want to tell yourself you are 100 per cent back and ready.
"But when you have had an injury it’s difficult to do, especially in such a short period of time. Going into those games without playing in the warm-up games, as I have done too often, is difficult. I always want to get my training done, my warm-up games, be ready and fresh and not be worrying about anything else.
"That’s what I always aim to do but it hasn’t happened. You do feel fine at the time. You do all your training. You do your gym work, you do your running, but it’s the games you need to get yourself match-fit, and you get found out.
"Previously I have always been going into the first game looking for fitness and it’s difficult to get your breathing right and the rest of it. This time I honestly feel good.
"I have looked after myself as well as I can to be as fit as I can for this tournament. I will be ready. I’m looking forward to it.
"I really want to be 100% fit this time and, barring an injury in training before we go, I will be totally ready."