Hodgson backs Rooney for starring role at World Cup

The Three Lions boss believes that the Manchester United forward can prove himself as being to international football what Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson is to Hollywood films
England manager Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney to star at the World Cup, comparing the striker to a Hollywood actor.

The Manchester United forward has failed to make his mark at a major tournament with the Three Lions since Euro 2004 but heads to Brazil without any injury concerns or suspensions and his boss is well aware that Rooney will be under pressure to produce a career-defining display on the international stage.

Hodgson remarked to the press: "I'm sure it must be the same for Hollywood film stars.

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"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****** good film!"

Rooney has regularly carried the hopes of a nation on his back but the England boss believes that a strong supporting cast should help to 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 enthused. "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 begin their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus on June 14.