• World Cup

Rooney: England are too nice to win tournaments

ESPN staff
June 22, 2014
Wayne Rooney reflects on early exit from World Cup

Wayne Rooney believes England need to develop a "nastiness" if they are to succeed at major tournaments.

Rooney scored his 40th goal for England against Uruguay before Luis Suarez's late winner put the Three Lions on the brink of elimination - later confirmed when Costa Rica surprised Italy with a 1-0 victory.

The Manchester United forward says Uruguay committed "clever fouls" and that England maybe need to follow suit when it comes to more underhand tactics.

'I will never quit England'

Wayne Rooney scored his first World Cup goal against Uruguay © Getty Images
  • Wayne Rooney, who on Saturday issued a public apology to England fans, has said he will never quit England.
  • "I'm really proud to play for my country," he said.
  • "I'm never one to pull out of squads and I always turn up and play for England when I'm called upon and I have no desire to stop doing that unless I'm told to.
  • "I'll play for England until I'm not selected."

"Look at teams who have won the tournament in previous years and you can see that nastiness in them. A lot of the great teams have that.

"We need to get that in us. We need to be more streetwise. Maybe we're too honest as a team but I think that will come.

"Uruguay the other night stopped the game. They committed I don't know how many fouls - clever fouls, really - to slow the game down.

"I got kicked 10 times and I don't think there was a yellow card. We try and be honest … maybe that's a fault of ours.

"It's small margins but those small things can amount to a big thing in terms of staying in the competition or going out."

England have one game remaining - against group leaders Costa Rica - and Rooney says "it's going to be a long few days" for the squad who have only pride to play for.

He added: "It's very disappointing to be out of the tournament. It's tough and it's not a great feeling to go out after two games.

"But we have to try and pick ourselves up for this game on Tuesday and go out there fighting and try and restore some of our pride."

When asked if scoring his first World Cup goal was consolation for England's elimination, Rooney added: "No, not at all. Scoring at a World Cup was on a lot of other people's minds - more than it was my own.

"I scored a goal but we lost the game and went out of the tournament. This team is much bigger than Wayne Rooney is. I'm part of this team, and working hard to help it be successful.

"We did a lot of things right and we were very positive - but in the end we lost the two games."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close