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Oct, 10, 2012

Rooney ready to lead young lions

Wayne Rooney has stated he is ready to assume an 'Eric Cantona role' for England and help nurture his young team-mates.

• Gerrard: No excuses anymore
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• Cole free to face San Marino
• Complacency could affect Hart
• Bog: Ten years after Le Tissier

With Rooney now 26, and with 76 international caps to his name, Rooney is one of the most experienced players in the England squad, which will prove vital with England devoid of much needed experience ahead of this Friday's World Cup Qualifier against San Marino at Wembley, with Steven Gerrard suspended and Frank Lamprd struggling to overcome injury.

This experience has him in line to captain his country for the first time in a competitive fixture, and although the role may be a temporary one, Rooney does take his responsibilities seriously.

With the England squad continuing to evolve and with question marks lingering over the International futures of several players, along with the recent departure of John Terry, Rooney accepts that he has to showcase his leadership ability by providing support and assitance to the younger players, as did Eric Cantona to a young Manchester United side almost two decades ago.

"There are a lot of young players in the squad and I always try to speak to them and offer advice. I remember Alex Ferguson telling me what a big help Cantona was to all those younger players at United. It is something I can try do for England and hopefully help bring the best out of them, as they can bring the best out of me," said Rooney.

Whilst indiscretions blighted the public's perception of Rooney some years ago, the past few years have shown a growing sense of maturity from the Manchester United striker, with Rooney unlikely to be involved in the kind of mess Ashley Cole found himself in on Twitter, depsite Rooney being an avid user of the social media platform and having over five million followers.

"It is a good way for the fans to see a different side of you.I don't try and get involved because you do get a bit of stick on it and obviously, I know everything I put on there is seen by everyone who follows you and it will be in the newspapers the next day, so I have to be careful.I didn't go on it to see how many followers I could get. But it is incredible the amount of support I get."

Rooney does accept that whilst he may have a strong following on Twitter, not everyone may be a fan, after taking heavy criticism for taking a break to Las Vegas prior to Euro 2012, where he went on to have an underwhelming tournament.

"I could understand where people were coming from. But I wasn't in Vegas going out every night drinking and partying.I went out one night and that was seen but I couldn't train because I had to have something done to my toe. It was just a way to relax.I have no problem with the scrutiny but hopefully, in the near future, we will be coming out of a tournament and everyone be praising me because we have won a trophy," said Rooney.

The new National Training Centre, St George's Park, will no doubt assist Rooney in his goal, and he had no complaints about the new state-of-the-art facility, other than perhaps his room featuring an inspirational photograph of Kevin Keegan, a man who found fame at Liverpool, which might just probe hard to take for a man that found his own fame at bitter rivals, Everton.

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