England news

Rooney: English players can adapt

October 9, 2013
By ESPN staff

Wayne Rooney believes Everton manager Roberto Martinez is showing English players have the ability to play a more technical brand of football.

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England have been in the spotlight as Football Association chairman Greg Dyke seeks to address the problems that have led to the decline of the country’s national team, and many feel that young English players are not taught to retain possession in the manner of Spain and Germany.

However, Martinez has introduced a greater emphasis on passing football at Everton since replacing David Moyes in the summer, and Rooney says that shows the players are capable of adapting.

“You look at what Martinez has done at Everton in terms of style of football which they used to play compared to what they play now -- there are a lot of English players who have adapted to that,” he said. “Why can't the younger players do that? I am sure they [the FA] will be looking at everything and coming up with the best decision.”

There are also concerns that young English players are not given first-team football by Premier League clubs, but Rooney said: “I always believed if there are players who are good enough, they will play: Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.”

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp recently claimed that many players do not enjoy playing for England, but Rooney -- who last month dismissed questions over his commitment to his country -- insists he is passionate about international football.

“I love playing for England,” he said. “It is great when you look at the likes of Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard who all have 100 caps. I am 27. I am pushing 90 caps. We have a lot of players who have turned up every game for England.

"There are times when you have an injury and you can't but there are a lot of players some countries won't have. To still be playing at over 100 caps is a great achievement. Speaking for myself, I love meeting up with England and playing. It is a proud moment for me.”

England now face two key World Cup qualifiers at home to Montenegro and Poland knowing that victory in both will secure their place in Brazil next summer.

“We believe we are going to qualify,” Rooney said. “If we don't we will have to deal with it. It is as simple as that. The players are all big enough. We know we should qualify. We will take whatever responsibility there is on that. But we are all really confident we will qualify.

“You can look at it either way. The players believe and now we have a full squad. In a few of the games one or two players have pulled out through injury. We have the quality to beat these two teams. You have to be confident and you have to stay positive and believe that.”

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