Wayne Rooney insists he’s fit and ready to lead England’s attack against Italy on Saturday, despite recent criticism of the Manchester United striker.
The 28-year-old’s place in Roy Hodgson’s side has been questioned ahead of the Group D opener against the Azzurri in Manaus this weekend.
Former Three Lions stars Paul Scholes and Gary Lineker have led the calls for his berth in the starting XI to come under threat, with the likes of Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling waiting in the wings.
But Rooney, who has 39 goals from 91 caps, has hit back at claims that he’s lost some of his spark.
“I feel great. I feel 100% fit and ready for this tournament,” said Rooney. “I’m not going to sit here and say I expect this and that, but I’ll be giving everything I can to help the team.
“I don’t care what anyone says, I’m ready for this World Cup and focussed. There is competition for places, and I’m ready for that.
“The manager has got a job to do, whoever he picks I’ll respect that. Success motivates me, and winning trophies. That’s what has always motivated me.
“I want to be successful for England, it’s a great honour, and to try to and win the World Cup is the greatest thing possible.”
Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were the only two players to miss England’s training session in Rio on Wednesday.
Welbeck limped out of training on Tuesday with a groin injury and there were concerns over his fitness for the Italy clash.
But Rooney says his Manchester United team-mate will be fit to play, if selected.
“Danny Welbeck will be fine,” added Rooney. “He just didn’t want to risk anything today. We’re all looking forward to it.
“I think it’s exciting with the energy and excitement in the team, it’s great to be a part of, it’s the best squad of players I’ve been involved with and I’m looking forward to this tournament and the future with England.”
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