Rooney: Wales more than just Bale

Gareth Bale Wales
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The Manchester United striker remains an admirer of the Real Madrid winger but insists that he and his team-mates will not focus solely on nullifying his threat

Wayne Rooney insists England must not focus solely on Gareth Bale when they face Wales in their pivotal Euro 2016 Group B clash in Lens on Thursday.

Real Madrid star Bale is Wales' most high-profile player and scored the opener in the 2-1 defeat of Slovakia on Saturday.

And while Rooney is an admirer of the former Tottenham winger, he is wary of focusing all his attention on one man.

"He's a fantastic player, but Wales have a lot of good players in the team," he said. "It's not England versus Gareth Bale, it's England versus Wales and we have to stop a few of their players if we want to win the game." 

England go into the match third in Group B, following a 1-1 draw with Russia on Saturday, but Roy Hodgson's men know that a win would take them top.

"We'll have the same mentality as we had for Russia [a 1-1 draw on Saturday]," Manchester United's Rooney added. 

"We've two games left, we're not going to prepare differently for Wales. It's the same preparation whether it's Russia, Wales or Slovakia. It's down to us as players now. We've done our work on the training field and it's down to us to do it on the pitch."

"The tournament makes it a special game but we know there are three points at stake, two British teams and we are looking forward to it.

"We've prepared well and will give everything to get the three points."

Wales, and Bale in particular, have been vocal in the build-up to the encounter, which is regarded by many as an international derby.

Rooney, though, insists he and his team-mates have not been affected by the mind games.

Asked why he thought they had taken that approach, Rooney added: "You’ll have to ask the Wales players that.

"We’ve been preparing for this game as we always do behind closed doors and all the information we need we've worked on on the training pitch or in meetings."