Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rooney ready to be Capello's utility man

LONDON: Wayne Rooney has told Fabio Capello he is prepared to sacrifice his attacking ambitions to be the England's coach utility man.

Capello put Rooney on the left of a three-man attack in the first half of Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan before moving the Manchester United star alongside Emile Heskey after the break.

Rooney had struggled to make any impact on the left but responded to the switch by scoring twice as England finally found some rhythm to run out 5-1 winners.

Capello will have to decide whether to restore Rooney to his favored role behind Emile Heskey for Wednesday's clash against Belarus or keep the striker out of position on the wing.

It is a familiar predicament for Rooney, who has often been shunted wide by Sir Alex Ferguson at United, and the 22-year-old insists he is ready to play wherever Capello wants if it helps the team.

"In the first half I played more towards the left and the second half I was just off Emile," Rooney said. "I played there many times for United so I'm not bothered.

"I'm a lot more on the ball in the center and it's better to get involved in the play but it's up to the manager.

"I enjoyed the game, we could have been ahead at half time and we got the goals after. To be back scoring is nice but the win was more important."

Rooney's late double-strike on Saturday took his international goal tally to 17, but it was the first time he has scored twice in a match for England in four years.

Rather than dwell on the past, Rooney defended his goal record and insisted his England form is getting better with every game.

"I've always said my game is not all about goals and I'm pleased with my record," he said.

"I wouldn't really say my record is too bad. It's just outside one goal in every two games. It's not one in four or five," Rooney added.

"It's about performances as well as goals. I'm been pleased with my performances recently.

"When I play for United it's always been like that - the goals have all come at once and then a little break.

"I'd like to do it a bit more consistently and keep scoring throughout but that is just the way it has happened."

David Beckham made a impressive contribution after coming on as a late substitute but the LA Galaxy star is adamant he will have no complaints if he is consigned to the bench again in Minsk.

Beckham has been as impressed as the rest of the England squad with Theo Walcott's improvement this season and he believes the Arsenal winger deserves to keep his place on the right.

"I don't think it matters about individuals, Theo has been great and he played well again," Beckham said. "You can see what a threat he is every time he gets the ball and runs at players.

"There is no-one that can get near him. He deserves to be where he is and hopefully he carries on because he is an exeptional talent.

"I've definitely not worked on my pace. I've never had it so I never had to work on it! One of the lads just said that."

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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