‘I believe in Wayne Rooney’: England boss Roy Hodgson backs Manchester United striker over Scholes criticism

England play their send-off friendly at Wembley against Peru tonight before heading to the World Cup in Brazil, a tournament where they need Wayne Rooney to shine.

This will be Rooney’s third World Cup but the striker has not found the net at either of his previous tournaments.

Former United star Paul Scholes wrote in a blog that Rooney may be past his peak, a claim that England boss Roy Hodgson rejects.

“Of course I don’t think he’s past his best, I believe in Wayne Rooney,” Hodgson said.

“I’ve selected him in a 23-man squad I’m very proud of.”

Scholes claims his former teammate may have peaked in the season he hit 27 goals at the age of 26.

The United legend also believes that given the early age Rooney start his career and the amount of football he has played, there is a chance he is worn out.

England skipper Steven Gerrard believes Scholes is wrong and that based on what he has seen, Rooney is well placed to have a good tournament.

“I’m excited about where Wayne Rooney is at,” Gerrard said.

“He’s been Manchester United’s best player at home and in Europe.

“He seems in a much better frame of mind going in to this tournament than in previous tournaments when he’s had injuries on his mind.”

Hodgson will want to use this Peru friendly to finalise his plans for the England team that will take on Italy in their opening game in Manaus.

Along with Rooney, Manchester City’s Joe Hart is the only other guaranteed starter from the Manchester clubs – with the likes of Chris Smalling, James Milner and Danny Welbeck wanting to use these friendly games to stake their claim for a place.

The squad travel to Miami after the Peru game where they will take on South American opposition Ecuador and Honduras in preparation for their World Cup clash with Uruguay.

“I’m looking at the three matches I suppose,” Hodgson said.

“I’ll lean on the players who have done the job for us up to now against Peru, I can experiment in Miami.

“Our goal is to gain experience in the next three games and give everyone game time.”

Main image courtesy of bwin via YouTube, with thanks.

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