• England

'Chubby' Rooney ready to restore England pride

ESPN staff
September 3, 2014
Wayne Rooney knows England fans' faith has to be restored after their disappointing World Cup exit © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney may have been called "chubby" by Norway defender Vegard Follen but he insists he is ready to lead England to glory after their World Cup disappointment.

Rooney will lead England out in Wednesday's friendly with Norway for the first time since being handed the full-time captaincy by manager Roy Hodgson. The Manchester United striker, who was described as "a bit chubby" by Norway skipper Follen, insists he can steer a new-era England to success.

"I'm ready for the responsibility. It's my time. I've played a lot of games for United and England, and I'm ready to accept that responsibility and ready to lead both teams to success," Rooney said.

"I've always wanted to win a trophy with England, and if I can lead us to do that, that'll be the pinnacle of my career. That will be very difficult, but I really do think it's achievable.

"Look at the players we've got - they're exciting players. They have to do what they do for their clubs with England, and we have to bring that together.

"Of course it's very difficult, it is for any country but that has to be our aim. It's pointless not having that as your aim or your desire.

"As a footballer, you don't want to settle for anything other than the best. Do we want to win? Sometimes you can't but our aim is to win, and do everything we can.

"It's about having the know-how of how to win a title. I've been fortunate of doing that with United, and a lot of players have done that with their clubs in this squad.

"It's different with your country, because none of us has done it with our country. It would be great to be successful with England. It's a big dream for us all."

Forren told Norweigan TV: "Rooney looks a bit chubby. They're obviously good players, and many of them are on good form already after three games in the Premier League but we're looking forward to it.

"It's almost a bit scary but it's in games like this and experiences like this you want to be able to contribute so I'm looking forward to it. We know we're a good team so there's no reason for us to walk around thinking we can't stop them."

Rooney will likely be spurred on by Forren's comments and he may need that extra motivation too, with the FA expecting a crowd of just 40,000 - half of Wembley Stadium - for Wednesday's match.

The captain knows the fans' faith must be restored following England's disappointing group-stage exit in Brazil and says his team-mates can do so with an exciting brand of football.

"The World Cup didn't go as well as we wanted and there's obviously a backlash from that, but the crowd will still be great considering that disappointment," Rooney said. "We wanted to do better in Brazil. We didn't. We're all still devastated but now we have to put the summer behind us and move on.

"We wanted to do better. [But] We didn't. We're all devastated, but now we have to move on, to tomorrow night and the first qualifier on Monday. We're always grateful to the fans, their support is second to none.

"We're very grateful and hopefully we can repay them with some good performances over the next two years, and exciting attractive football to qualify for Euro 2016."

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