Pele backs Wayne Rooney to succeed
Pele has jumped to Wayne Rooney's defence and insisted that, despite his dreadful World Cup record, the Manchester United striker deserves to be in the England team.
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Rooney begins his third World Cup having failed to score either in Germany in 2006 or in South Africa four years ago and with his place questioned by some critics who would rather see England manager Roy Hodgson pick younger players such as Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley.
But Pele, the only player in football history to win the World Cup three times, insists Rooney's efforts for the side mean he has to play.
"Wayne Rooney has not scored [in a World Cup finals] but he was fantastic for the team," the three-time World Cup winner told Sky Sports News.
Rooney has struck 39 times for his country and was England's top scorer in qualifying but he has a solitary goal in a major championships -- against Ukraine in Euro 2012 -- in the last decade.
But 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cup winner Pele said: "He was always the player who fought more for the team. I would like him in my team, you know."
England have been handed one of the tougher draws in the World Cup after being pitted against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, but Pele believes they can qualify from their pool.
"England have a difficult group but I think they could pass," the Brazilian added. "The World Cup is a very short tournament and the experienced players always do well."