England news

Rooney confident of Euro glory

Striker believes England can go all the way

ESPN staff

Wayne Rooney insists England are genuine contenders to become European champions.

Rooney, who returns from suspension for the final Group D clash against co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday, and his England team-mates require just a point to ensure progress to the quarter-finals. However, the Manchester United striker has declared the Three Lions should not adopt a negative attitude as they move into the latter stages of the tournament.

"I've said it before. I think we're good enough," he said. "I know no-one wants to build up expectations but I firmly believe we've got the players. Before the tournament started I said a country like ours needs to be in there with a shout of winning major tournaments.

"Obviously you need a bit of luck as well, but we've got a good opportunity. We've got the squad and are more organised than we have been as long as I've been in the squad.

"We are hard to beat now. If we keep doing that and keep working hard then there's no reason we can't go really far and be in with a shout of winning it."

If England do progress beyond the group stage, they face the prospect of taking on current world and European champions Spain in the last eight. Rooney, though, remains confident England can go all the way.

"You have to play the best teams if you want to win tournaments," he said.

"How much of a boost would it be for us if we did play them and beat them? How much confidence would that give us? We just have to cope."

Rooney has not scored in a major tournament since bursting onto the scene as a teenager at Euro 2004. While acknowledging he must step up, Rooney says he will remain patient at the start of the match against Ukraine in Donetsk.

"I need to feel my way into the game for 20 minutes, make sure my touch is right and do the simple things," he said. "Then when I get towards the last half of the game hopefully I can create and score goals.

"I set myself high standards. In international tournaments I haven't been good enough."


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