David Moyes has backed Wayne Rooney to defy his critics and emerge as a star of the England team at this summer"s World Cup finals.
Amid rumours that the striker"s starting spot may be threatened in a revamped line-up, Rooney's former manager at Manchester United told The Guardian that the Three Lions have to put their trust in the 28-year-old.
Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge is being tipped to take the lead striker role for England in their opening World Cup match against Italy on June 14, but Moyes his convinced Rooney still has a key role to play in the line-up.
"In the big games, you look to your big players and I have no doubt that Wayne will be a big player for England at this World Cup," added Moyes. "He has the mental strength to handle those games and when I look at England, I think he has to play.
"There is an awful lot of pressure being lumped on him, which isn't right," Moyes said. "England haven't done particularly well in a lot of competitions, so no one should be expecting great things from them.
"I have spoken to Wayne a few times since I left Manchester United and he has been very supportive. He was terrific for me. He played really well and in the opening months, he carried us in a lot of ways with his swashbuckling style.
"I think he is in a better place than he was at this time last year. He is playing well and his form has been good. England have to trust him at this World Cup.
"He will be determined to do well. He knows how important this is for him. Wayne will be desperate to show everyone what he can do, but he will also need good service and good players around him. Wayne cannot make it happen all on his own."
Moyes also offered a strong defence of his coaching credentials and revealed he has been tempted by offers to make a swift return to the game.
Despite his chastening experience at United, his confidence does not appear to have been shaken as he suggested he is eying up a return to a club playing in the Champions League.
"I feel I needed more time [at United], but I will use it to benefit me and help me in the coming jobs," said Moyes. "I have had a couple of opportunities to go back in and chosen not to do anything just now. I am going to look for what I feel is the right opportunity. I would like to think I proved myself over the 11-year period at Everton and what I am capable of, and the level at which I want to manage.
"I got my real first taste of the Champions League this year and I thought I showed I can manage at that level. I would like somewhere that would give me a chance of being in the Champions League or a club that has ambitions of being in the Champions League.
"It could be at home or abroad. I have always liked the thought of broadening my horizons and learning a bit more and at the moment I am quite comfortable watching and learning. I will go away and learn and look again to see what is happening."