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Sep 3, 2011

Rooney determined to face Wales

Wayne Rooney insists he will be fit for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales on Tuesday after picking up a foot injury during their 3-0 win in Bulgaria.

•  Bulgaria 0-3 England

Rooney netted twice as England moved three points clear at the top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group. Thanks to Wales' win over Montenegro on Friday, victory against the Welsh at Wembley would see England needing a point from their trip to Montenegro in October to top their group, and Rooney claims England already have "one foot in the finals".

Rooney ended a 15-match international goalscoring drought with two goals to move to eighth in the all-time scoring list for the Three Lions, and he played down injury fears after landing awkwardly on his foot during the second half in Sofia.

"[The foot] is no problem," Rooney said. "I just landed on it in the second half and the physio has looked at it and said it's fine and I'll take part in training tomorrow.

"We are almost there. Wales did us a big favour by beating Montenegro tonight. We've got one foot into the finals. If we win on Tuesday we will more or less have qualified and we are capable of doing that.

"This was a good performance from the whole team and we fully deserved the three points. We knew it was a very important game and that we had to try and silence their crowd - and we managed to do that.

"We controlled the game and played some great counter-attacking football. We took our chances and deserved the three points. Myself, I felt good, and the whole team did very well."

Rooney says he is hungry for more after ending his year-long England goal drought.

Rooney said: "I'm enjoying my football and I've got a great hunger about me. I want to prove myself again and hopefully I'm doing that. I feel really good and hopefully I can continue to score goals.

"We have won every away game since the World Cup and as a team are good on the counter-attack. The manager has brought some players in and they have done very well and cause problems for teams.

"With the pace of Theo Walcott, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing all breaking forward, it is difficult for teams to defend against us.''

Fabio Capello expects to have Wayne Rooney available.

"Rooney has a problem with his foot but I think he should be okay for Tuesday,'' said Capello. "It's a different part of his foot. His big toe. It's nothing, I think but we will have to wait for a minimum of 24 hours.

"I saw him on the bed in the dressing room with the physio speaking with him, but I'm not sure what's really happened.''

After just one goal in his previous 15 games, it represented a welcome return to form for Rooney.

"I am really happy because he scored,'' said Capello. "Rooney is really important because he is a player with movement.

"He creates a lot of space for the other players and doesn't only stay upfield. He comes back and his movement creates difficulties for opponents. And afterwards, he always arrives in front of goal where you need him. This is important.''

Gary Cahill put England ahead on his first competitive start and once Rooney had done his bit, the visitors were able to coast home.

With Craig Bellamy missing, England will be huge favourites to repeat their triumph against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in March when the sides meet on Tuesday night.

Yet even if they win, England will not be guaranteed a place at the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine next summer, which would be snatched away from them if Montenegro win their final two matches, starting against England, in Podgorica on October 7.

Conversely, England could lose on Tuesday but would still go through if they secured a score draw in Montenegro.

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