Updated: Thursday, 23rd January 2020 @ 1:00pm

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney deploys Eric Cantona's philosophy to nurture England youngsters

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney deploys Eric Cantona's philosophy to nurture England youngsters

By Dean Wilkins

With the chance to captain his country for the first time, Wayne Rooney is ready to introduce the philosophy of Manchester United legend Eric Cantona to nurture his teammates.

The 26-year-old striker is one of the most experienced players available to Roy Hodgson – as Frank Lampard (knee) and Steven Gerrard (suspended) are out – and he vows to make sure he lives up to his responsibility.

With 76 caps under his belt, Rooney’s temporary role could soon turn permanent as he utilises Cantona’s strategy of advice used to give players breaking through the ranks at United 20 years ago – such as England coach Gary Neville.

"There are a lot of young players in the squad and I always try to speak to them and offer advice," said the former Everton man.

"And I remember Sir Alex Ferguson telling me what a big help Cantona was to all those younger players at United.

"It is something I can try do for England and hopefully help bring the best out of them – as they can bring the best out of me.”

Ashley Cole will be available for selection to earn his 99th and 100th caps for England during their World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland after his Twitter rampage.

The Chelsea fullback branded the FA a ‘BUNCHOFT***S’ after the report into John Terry’s racism case was released.

And Rooney admitted that he would not be as careless on Twitter as his five million followers would not be impressed with an outburst like that.

"It is a good way for the fans to see a different side of you," said Rooney, the most-following British sportsman.

"I don't try and get involved because you do get a bit of stick on it and obviously, I know everything I put on there is seen by everyone who follows you and it will be in the newspapers the next day, so I have to be careful.

"I didn't go on it to see how many followers I could get. But it is incredible the amount of support I get."

And after receiving a mountain of criticism for a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign – despite only being available to play for two games and scoring in one – Rooney was rational about the response.

"I could understand where people were coming from," he added. "But I wasn't in Vegas going out every night drinking and partying.

"I went out one night and that was seen but I couldn't train because I had to have something done to my toe. It was just a way to relax.

"I have no problem with the scrutiny but hopefully, in the near future, we will be coming out of a tournament and everyone be praising me because we have won a trophy.

"That would be great for everyone."

And as England prepare to play their first game without former captain and defensive rock John Terry, Rooney could not hide his admiration for him.

"He was fantastic for us" Rooney said. "JT is an old-fashioned centrehalf, who is not afraid to get his foot in.

"Him and Paolo Maldini are two toughest defenders I have played against

"He has made his decision to retire and we have to respect it – but he will be a loss to us."

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