Rooney: We're full of confidence
Wayne Rooney says Fabio Capello will leave "no stone unturned" trying to help England win the World Cup for the first time in half a century. Twenty-four hours after being handed the most comfortable draw they could possibly have hoped for, Rooney says he can't wait to get going on June 12 in Rustenberg.
"We have a new manager and if the qualifying phase is anything to go by, he and his staff will leave no stone unturned," said Rooney. "We, the players, will all know what is expected of us before the first ball is kicked. Personally, I try to approach every game the same way and focus on each game as it comes along and that's exactly how we will approach our World Cup games."
Rooney continued: "The team is full of confidence at present and that comes from the belief the manager has instilled in us. One of his many strengths is the confidence he gives you as an individual. It will be interesting to see him at work during the tournament, as I said before, his attention to detail is amazing."
Rooney says none of England's opponents will be taken for granted and is particularly impressed by the USA. "They have lots of World Cup Finals experience and their players are playing all over the world. Tim Howard is a top keeper and has fantastic experience from his time at Manchester United and now with Everton.
"I really like Clint Dempsey as a player, I think he is a constant threat when he plays for Fulham and then there is Landon Donovan who I think is one of those players who can make things happen in a game, so there is no doubt that this will be a tough opening game."
Skipper Donovan can't wait to lock horns with David Beckham - provided, that is, his LA Galaxy teammate is included in Capello's squad.
Donavan and Beckham fell out spectacularly earlier this year when the US captain questioned Beckham's commitment following his extended loan move at AC Milan. Although they mended fences over the course of the 2009 MLS season and helped the Galaxy reach last month's MLS title game, Donovan would love nothing more than to put one over England in Rustenberg on June 12.
"It took me about half a second to realise what this means," said Donovan. "I wish we could have gotten a shot of David's face directly but I'm sure he was thinking the same thing. I don't know how many players from our league will actually be participating in the World Cup, so to play against one of them would be pretty special in its own right. To play against your own teammate is actually pretty incredible."
Donovan believes his team, comprising predominantly European-based players, will be well capable of dealing with whatever is thrown at them by Capello's side.
"With England, they're just physical and they're big and they're used to playing the game at a very high pace," he said. "The good thing is that we've got a lot of guys who have played in Europe now, who have played in high-level games like this and we can match that. Are we as talented as England? Probably not. But we think on a given day that we have a chance to beat them."
Donovan says the USA-England matchup is already generating massive interest in the States. "We all know there are a lot of Brits, and especially English people, in America," he said. "Those of us who grew up around soccer know that you didn't grow up playing without being influenced at some point by someone who was British."