David Beckham admits England are a better side with Wayne Rooney but insists they have the players to succeed without the Manchester United striker.
Rooney is a major doubt for the World Cup after he suffered more than one fracture in a foot during the 3-0 defeat by Chelsea at the end of last month and he was under intense scrutiny until the surprise inclusion of Theo Walcott in the England squad shifted the spotlight on to the 17-year-old.
While admitting he desperately hopes Rooney will appear at the World Cup in Germany, the England skipper is adamant the team has an abundance of talent in all areas.
He told Sky Sports: 'We are a better team and squad with him. What we have to remember is we have other great players and other captains - great midfielders, defenders and forwards in our team. We've got players who have played in big games so we have to step forward now.
'People have said there is a lot of pressure on Wayne Rooney. But he is a footballer for Manchester United and England - of course there is a lot of pressure.
'He is the best young player in world football at this present time and there is a lot of expectation there.
'We can talk about it and talk about it until he is fit for hopefully one of the games in the World Cup but we've all got to stay positive. I know he'll stay positive and that is the most important thing because of course we need Wayne Rooney - you want your best players on the team and he is one of our best players.
'I spent many years at Manchester United and the medical staff are very good there.
'They will look after him, the manager will look after him and make sure he is not going anywhere unless he is fit because I'm sure he doesn't want him coming back next season having the same problems.
'He needs to take care of himself which he will do. He's working very hard to get himself fit because he knows what it means to himself, the team and the country but I think the most important thing is his health.'