Wayne Rooney hopes to end England’s half century of failure and captain the Three Lions to some elusive silverware.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s friendly against Norway, Rooney said it was a ‘dream’ to captain his country, after Roy Hodgson chose him to take the baton, or some may say burden, from fellow Liverpudlian Steven Gerrard.
The Manchester United striker, who has skippered the national side on two occasions before, hopes to usher in a new dawn for England, starting with a victory at Wembley tonight.
“I’ve always said I don’t want to finish my career with England having not won anything,” 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.”
It may be 48 years of hurt in major championships – and will be 50 when Euro 2016 rolls around – but England last tasted senior level success in Le Tournoi back in 1997, ahead of the 1998 World Cup also held in France.
The national side’s showing at this year’s World Cup in Brazil this summer was yet another disappointment in a long-line of major tournament heart-breaks.
Hodgson’s men crashed out at the group stage after failing to pick up a single victory, prompting a wave of stinging criticism, much of it aimed at the United forward, who struck one goal.
The fall-out of Brazil is still apparent, after only 40,000 fans snapped up tickets to watch Rooney’s first game as full-time captain at the national stadium.
And despite a dire past, Rooney insisted England’s future is bright with a wealth of exciting young talent beginning to emerge at their respected clubs.
“Look at the players we’ve got,” Rooney said. “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.”
Turning around his club’s fortunes is also high up on Rooney’s agenda after he was appointed as United captain by new manager Louis van Gaal.
After a successful pre-season, Van Gaal has been sent crashing down to earth, picking up only two points in his first three Premier League matches.
The Dutchman has ruthlessly wielded the axe, clearing out a number of high-profile players as he attempts to restore United to their former glory, with Rooney leading the charge.
Danny Welbeck completed a £16million switch to Arsenal on deadline day, with Javier Hernandez heading to Real Madrid for a season, Tom Cleverley sealing a last-minute loan switch to Aston Villa and Shinji Kagawa heading back to Borussia Dortmund for £6.3million.
United have always brought in a number of major signings, including Ángel Di María for British transfer record-fee of £59.7million, Daley Blind for £14million and Marcos Rojo for £16million, bringing their total summer spending up to £150million.
Colombia international Radamel Falcao, one of the world’s most prolific strikers, was also brought in on a season-long loan on deadline-day, sending out a clear message of intent to United’s rivals.
Wayne Rooney said Falcao’s arrival is a fantastic addition to the squad, calling it a major signal of intent.
“I obviously don’t know how it could affect my role, that is something you’d have to ask Louis van Gaal,” the England striker said.
“But I think is a fantastic signing, he is one of the best players in the world. It is a real sign of intent from Manchester United and an exciting signing for us.”
Image courtesy of Sky Sports News via YouTube with thanks