Rooney steps up World Cup recovery
Wayne Rooney will be fit and ready to take the World Cup by storm, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.
Ever since Rooney lit up Euro 2004 as an 18-year-old star, the expectation on the England striker has been immense. For the most part Rooney has failed to live up to the hype.
The former Everton striker is yet to find the net in a World Cup, but all that may be about to change.
"We have nothing to fear with Wayne," Hodgson said after naming his 23-man squad for Brazil on Monday. "His attitude is spot on. His desire could not be better."
"Has he got the ability? Yes, he has, so it is just a case of bringing on the matches and on that particular day Wayne Rooney can find the form that makes him who he is."
Rooney is so determined to make an impact in Brazil that he has taken two fitness trainers on holiday to Portugal with him this week.
"I said to the players that I am more than happy for them to go and forget football for a week and go and get themselves mentally-prepared for the many weeks we have ahead," Hodgson added. "But Wayne has decided to take some physios with him where he is going and to continue his programme as he is so determined that when we meet up on the 19th he'll be able to join in straight away.
"It's quite laudable that that's the way he thinks and I'm not trying to dissuade him."
Rooney, Phil Jagielka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, who were all named in Hodgson's 23-man squad, have struggled for game time recently due to injury.
But Hodgson insists his only injury concern is to Manchester United defender Phil Jones. Jones suffered a shoulder injury in United's win over Hull last week. Should the former Blackburn defender not recover in time, he will be replaced by Everton teenager John Stones, who only made his first Premier League start in January.
"The only one I would say who seriously poses a question is Phil Jones," Hodgson said. "He had his shoulder injury a week ago today. Everyone tells me, and my research tells me too -- I had the same injury with two of my players at Fulham -- everything points he will be back, fit and playing in three weeks.
"John Stones will be Phil Jones' replacement if, by June 2, we are not confident Phil Jones will be fit -- but everything tells me he will be."
Stones and uncapped Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan are the only two players on Hodgson's stand-by list who will travel with the rest of the squad to Portugal for England's first training camp next week.
The other five men on the stand-by list -- Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, John Ruddy, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley -- will not travel to the Algarve for the camp, which starts on Monday.