• World Cup

Rooney goes to great lengths in fitness bid

ESPN staff
May 13, 2014
Hodgson: We can win the World Cup

Wayne Rooney is so determined to make an impact at the World Cup that he has taken two fitness trainers on holiday to Portugal with him this week.

Rooney missed the final three games of Manchester United's domestic campaign with a groin injury, but he is determined to have recovered fully before the England squad meet up for their training camp in the Algarve on Monday.

Despite exploding onto the international scene as an 18-year-old, Rooney has failed to live up to the early promise that saw him light up Euro 2004 and he is yet to score at a World Cup finals.

England's 23-man World Cup squad

  • Goalkeepers: Forster, Foster, Hart
  • Defenders: Baines, Cahill, Jagielka, Johnson, Jones, Shaw, Smalling
  • Midfielders: Barkley, Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana, Lampard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, Wilshere
  • Forwards: Lambert, Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck
  • On standby: Carrick, Carroll, Cleverley, Defoe, Flanagan, Ruddy, Stones
  • Click here for full profiles on all the squad

But England manager Roy Hodgson believes that is all about to change.

"We have nothing to fear with Wayne," Hodgson said after naming his 23-man squad for Brazil.

"His attitude is spot on. His desire could not be better.

"Has he got the ability? Yes, he has, so it is just a case of bring on the matches and on that particular day Wayne Rooney can find the form that makes him who he is."

On Rooney's decision to have trainers with him on holiday, Hodgson added: "I said to the players that I am more than happy for them to go and forget football for a week and go and get themselves mentally-prepared for the many weeks we have ahead.

"But Wayne has decided to take some physios with him where he is going and to continue his programme as he is so determined that when we meet up on the 19th he'll be able to join in straight away.

"It's quite laudable that that's the way he thinks and I'm not trying to dissuade him."

Roy Hodgson says Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Phil Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in United's win over Hull last week, is his only concern ahead of the World Cup.

"[Jones] had his shoulder injury a week ago today," Hodgson said. "Everyone tells me, and my research tells me too - I had the same injury with two of my players at Fulham - everything points he will be back, fit and playing in three weeks.

"John Stones will be Phil Jones' replacement if, by June 2, we are not confident Phil Jones will be fit - but everything tells me he will be."

Phil Jagielka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere have all struggled for game time recently due to injury and Stones and uncapped Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan are the only two players on Hodgson's stand-by list who will travel to England's first training camp next week. Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, John Ruddy, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley will not be there.

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