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England should be dreaming of World Cup win - Rooney

2:32 PM IST 03/07/18
Harry Kane Jesse Lingard England
The 32-year-old sees the potential and talent in the Three Lions squad before they take on Colombia in their second round tie

Former England captain Wayne Rooney believes the country is right to start "dreaming" of winning the World Cup this year.

Confidence has grown in the Three Lions camp after they started the competition with wins over Tunisia and Panama, before losing out on first place in their group to Belgium.

Gareth Southgate's team will face Colombia in the last 16 on Tuesday, and players like Dele Alli and Danny Welbeck believe they pose a strong threat to all contenders in Russia.

And Rooney, who retired from the England team after Euro 2016, believes they are right to fancy their chances of going far.

"I think we should be dreaming now," he told ESPN.

"It's early, but whatever happens now in this World Cup - whether we go out [on Tuesday] or we go on and win it - the fans and the media back home, I think they need to get behind these lads.

"I've seen it two years ago. I said it two years ago when I was captain of the team: give these lads a bit of time, because I've seen the quality and the ability they all had.

"And, again, after this tournament, whatever happens now, get behind them, because in two years' time, four years' time, that might be the support that helps them go on and win that trophy."

With the likes of Harry Kane, Alli, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling in the squad, England have a dangerous attack, and Rooney hopes Southgate gives them freedom on the field.

"They're good. They've got a lot of potential. They've been exciting, young, great energy, playing with a lot of freedom," the new D.C. United player added.

"I just hope Gareth allows them to do that in this game against Colombia and doesn't maybe think it's a knockout game you need to hold back a bit. Let them play. I think they're enjoying having that freedom. They're expressing themselves.

"I think sometimes if you take a bit away from that it might hurt us, but I'd say let them play and let them continue to go on."