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Terry: Winding up Wayne Rooney will backfire for Croatia

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 22:04

London: England and Chelsea skipper John Terry thinks that Croatia`s attempts to play mind games with Wayne Rooney could end up working to his side`s advantage at Wembley tonight, with the Manchester United striker certain to perform better if he feels he has a point to prove.
Croatia`s chief scout Goran Vucevic revealed yesterday that his team would be targeting the forward`s volatile temperament, believing that it represents a weakness in his make-up. Terry maintains though that any additional confrontation is something upon which Rooney will thrive.

"If people are thinking of playing mind games with him it’s not going to work at all. Wayne has a fire in his belly. That’s what players of his ability always have and is what helps them get to the top," the defender told the Daily Mail.

"Maybe they’re looking to be physical, trying to get Wayne carried away from his football. But over the years we have seen him mature under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and, on the way, he’s become one of the best players in the world.”

"He will want to be aggressive in the tackle, win headers and compete with Croatia. He will never back down but knows when to walk away. That’s the difference between Wayne now and three or four years ago."

And Terry thinks Rooney presents a range of threats to Croatia`s defence, with his obvious goalscoring ability complemented by supreme movement and awareness. He added: "Wayne’s biggest threat to them is in front of goal. He could have had a hat-trick against Slovenia at the weekend but he was in the right positions, which was the most important thing.

"Wayne’s always in the right place to score goals, he provides a massive threat when he pulls off the last defender. They should be worried about playing against Wayne. He has the pace to go in behind as well. You never know which way he’s going to go. He is a very difficult player to play against.”

"He showed what he could do against them when we won in Zagreb last year. He was the link-up player and helped Theo Walcott get his hat-trick, as well as getting a goal himself."

First Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 22:04

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