Rooney raring to go for England

Rustenbug (South Africa): Wayne Rooney
played down concerns over England`s lacklustre World Cup
build-up and insisted he was raring to go ahead of the opening
group C clash with the United States here on Saturday.

Fabio Capello`s side have looked unconvincing in their
warm-up internationals against Mexico and Japan and that
impression was confirmed by another disjointed display in the
3-0 win over South African Premier League side Platinum Stars
on Monday.

England did however look much sharper once Rooney came on
as a second half substitute and the Manchester United striker
created his side`s second goal before claiming the third for

"It was a good run-out, we needed to get the game in and
to play 45 minutes felt good so I was happy," Rooney said.

"I think we got out of it what we needed. I would have
liked to have got a bit more of a game but I was happy with
the 45 minutes.”

"We are ready - these are preparation games for us for
the big one now coming up on Saturday. I just can`t wait now.
The sooner it comes, the better."

Rooney`s input into Monday`s match came at a price with
the striker picking up a booking for dissent and generally
charging around in a manner which would have reminded many
England fans of his conduct in the 2006 quarter-final
against Portugal, in which he was sent off before England lost
out in a penalty shoot-out.

Team-mate Jermain Defoe however believes that Rooney
cannot completely shed his aggressive, competitive edge.

"When you`ve got that fire in your belly as a player can
be good," Defoe said. "If you take that away from Wayne, then
he won`t be the same player."

Defoe backed Rooney`s view that England are ready to
challenge at this World Cup, although he acknowledged they
were still adjusting to the 1500m-plus altitude of South
Africa`s high veldt.

"It was a really good work out. With the conditions, the
altitude and the heat, it made it difficult, but it helped
with the fitness for what is ahead.”

"You do notice the altitude here when you`re running
around. It`s different, and we`re a lot higher here than we
were in Austria but I`m sure we`ll get used to it in training.”

"I don`t think we could be better prepared for a World
Cup. I think everything we`ve done - the training, the fitness
work - has been spot on.”

"The hotel is brilliant. We`ve got everything we need, so
the preparation has been good and, if you prepare right, you
get results."

Defoe added: "Everyone`s hungry. We want to win it. We`ll
take each game as it comes, but I think we`ve got that winning
mentality. "We`re winning games and we want to take that into
a tournament now."

Bureau Report

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