Rooney: England 'can all be heroes'
England striker Wayne Rooney is hoping he will finally hit top form in an international tournament at this summer's World Cup finals.
Manchester United hit-man Rooney has struggled to live up to the huge expectations that tend to surround him in the build-up to major competitions, with England boss Roy Hodgson suggesting on Monday that it was "very wrong to put the hopes of a footballing nation like England on the shoulders of one man."
Yet the 28-year-old admits he is eager to make up for his disappointing displays at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals with a star showing in Brazil.
"You always feel this can be your tournament," stated Rooney, in an interview published in the Daily Mirror. "It hasn't happened for me at the last two World Cups, but I've prepared as well as I can for this tournament. I'll be ready and fully fit and I'm really excited about that.
"It's about the team and as a team we have to do well and I'm hoping I can be part of that. I know if I have the tournament I know I can have, then we'll do really well.
"We can all be heroes. It's our chance to make history for our country and you don't get many opportunities. You see all the programmes on TV, looking back at the history of the World Cup, and that's what we want to do.
"We want to create our own bit of history so in years to come, people will look back at what we did. It's there, the stage is set. We just have to go out and deliver. It would be great if in years from now, people say 'remember England in 2014' because that means we will have done really well or won it."
Rooney went on to insist nothing but success would be good enough for England at Brazil 2014, as he did his best to raise the relatively modest expectations surrounding Hodgson's side.
"Success for me would be winning it," he added. "We're not going to make up the numbers. We're going to try and win the tournament. I think that's the attitude we've got to have.
"We have to go with the mentality we can win it. Any tournament you play in, you've got to believe you can win it. There's no point otherwise.
"I believe we are good enough to get out of our group and good enough to win the group. The first game is obviously important. It's vital not to lose the first game, but we are good enough to win that first game and if we do, confidence will grow.
"You have to look at Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge," he said. "What they've done has been great. Daniel has scored a lot of goals. Raheem, a lot of goals and assists. And then the likes of Adam Lallana, who's come into the squad and Luke Shaw, a lot of exciting young players.
"What we've seen in recent tournaments, is players who you wouldn't think can would be stars. We're hoping we have a few of them in our team."