Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


England put faith in Rooney

14 May 2014, 07:36

London - After chastening experiences at the last two Soccer World Cups, England go to the finals in Brazil with a new wave of youth supporting Wayne Rooney.

But there is much more caution around this squad than for the 'Golden Generation' that went to the 2006 World Cup in Germany and lost on penalties to Portugal in the last eight.

Four years later, things had regressed further as a side coached by Fabio Capello struggled through a straightforward group before crashing 4-1 to Germany in the last 16.

England's 1966 World Cup success frames the country's perception of its place in the global pecking order, and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke had to backtrack after suggesting last September that the team stood no chance of winning in Brazil.

Manager Roy Hodgson, who succeeded Capello shortly before Euro 2012 - where England reached the quarter-finals - has been obliged to toe a line between pragmatism and cheery optimism.

"We won't fear anybody and in the same way we will respect everybody. The players will be desperate to do well," he said.

"We all know the result everybody wants and that's to repeat 1966. We all know that's not going to be easy, but it's great to be there trying to do it."

Hodgson has named a 23 man squad, with seven players on standby if any of those named are injured prior to the June 2 deadline, with veterans Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard included.

But it is also marked by the arrival of teenagers Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling and 20-year-old Ross Barkley.

Only six players have previous World Cup experience. Out have gone the likes of Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand, rocks of the defence over the past decade.

England qualified as the unbeaten winners of UEFA qualifying Group H, but they were given a reality check in November when losses to Chile and Germany at Wembley saw them register back-to-back home defeats for the first time in 36 years.

December's World Cup draw only served to further dampen expectations. England were paired with Italy and Uruguay, both of whom are currently above them in the FIFA rankings, and Costa Rica, prompting 'Group of Death' headlines in British tabloids.

Hodgson has been eager to improve England's control of possession - a historic weakness - but pace in forward areas remains their key asset.

They were dominated in possession terms by both Chile and Germany, while Hodgson suggested after a 0-0 draw in Ukraine last September that England would abandon attempts to play out from the back against teams who press high up the pitch.

England's most recent friendly, a 1-0 win over Denmark in March, saw Hodgson attempt to harness the momentum generated by Liverpool's impressive domestic form.

His starting XI contained no fewer than five Liverpool players, although the positional fluidity characteristic of Brendan Rodgers's side was not apparent.

Hodgson can nonetheless draw solace from the fact that his two key players, Gerrard and Rooney, are in top form.

A prolific campaign with Liverpool has seen Daniel Sturridge emerge as the clear choice to partner Rooney, while goalkeeper Joe Hart has overcome a mid-season wobble that momentarily cost him his place in the Manchester City team.

In defence, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill have established themselves as Hodgson's first-choice centre-back pairing.

In midfield Arsenal's Jack Wilshere has recovered from the hairline foot fracture he suffered against Denmark, while the emergence of young midfielders such as Adam Lallana, Barkley and Sterling has softened the absence through injury of Theo Walcott.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...