London: Wayne Rooney has the opportunity in Brazil this summer to show that he is not only a “great star in the Premier League but also a world star”, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.
Rooney starred at Euro 2004, scoring four times, but has rarely lit up three subsequent tournaments. He has still amassed 38 goals in 88 games, mainly in qualifying and friendlies, but has yet to score in eight games at World Cup finals (2006 and 2010).
“With Wayne it’s a great opportunity this year to really show on a world stage what a magnificent player he is,” said Hodgson.
“Maybe once or twice in the past, I think I can say without fear of contradiction, that on the world stage he hasn’t exploded as he has maybe on our national stage where we all accept him as an outstanding player.
“I hope with Wayne, and certainly the message to him, is: ‘This is your chance. Sure you’ll be a bit tired. But so will Luis Suarez and David Luiz and other players, because they are also playing in the Premier League and playing every game, like you’.
“I certainly rejoice in the fact that he’s playing so well. Wayne has taken on responsibility with Manchester United and he always takes responsibility with the national team.
“He is 28 and that is a terrific age and this is the world stage, the perfect opportunity for him to prove to people in the world what we already know — that he is a very, very gifted footballer and someone who is a leading light in his team which is one of the best in the world.
“It would be nice to see him reproducing that form for England and I am confident he will. It will be a great opportunity for him in Brazil to show that he is not just a great star in the Premier League, but that he is a world star. I think he can dazzle on world stage.”
Hodgson acknowledged that Rooney and other members of his 23-man squad could feel drained of energy after the long season.
“Look, they will be tired, they will be exhausted,” continued England’s manager. “But strangely enough, in the past we’ve lamented, as England, the intensity of our league, and how that puts us at a slight disadvantage.
“But going through the players the other day, the fact that there are 23 Frenchmen playing regularly in the league, 15 Belgians and 14 Spaniards, means we’re not going to be quite so much alone as we once were.
“Now Wayne has had a break, an enforced break through injury. You can argue he’s had his winter break which some players didn’t get.”