Rio Ferdinand: Wayne Rooney will shine
Rio Ferdinand believes his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney is ready to banish his past disappointments in World Cup finals by shining at Brazil 2014 this summer.
Rooney has failed to live up to the lofty expectations surrounding him both at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals, but Ferdinand is convinced the 28-year-old striker will do better this time.
"I think he would be the first to tell you he wants a productive World Cup," said Ferdinand, speaking at the launch of the BBC's 2014 World Cup coverage.
"He has been unfortunate and has always limped into a World Cup. That has gone against him, but judging from what I have seen, he will come into this fighting fit and ready to go."
Ferdinand was among those hailed as a "golden generation" of English players who have headed into the last two World Cup with expectations to emerge as champions, with David Beckham, Michael Owen, John Terry and Frank Lampard included in that elite club.
Yet Ferdinand has suggested that tag did not help the team perform, as they struggled to cope with the pressure on the World Cup stage and perform at their best.
"It is so intense," said Ferdinand when asked about the pressure of a World Cup. "The intensity is so much higher. There is not a spread of games over a few days like the Premier League.
"The golden generation tag upped the expectations because people expected us to win silverware. Personally, I think we had the players capable but never set up in the right way. It was a combination of things. The system was not right. I don't think we played with freedom in an England shirt. We were trying to stop teams all the time."
Ferdinand believes England's class of 2014 will not be weighed down by such expectations and he hopes that can help Roy Hodgson's unfancied team in Brazil.
"The expectations are more realistic," he added. "We have a group of young players and the expectations are not high and crazy. It allows individuals to breath a bit more and maybe express themselves more.
"We have an eye no the next tournament. This tournament with the players we have, we cannot expect to win. Quarterfinals for this young bunch of players would be a good step."