Eng­land striker is one of the best – Lippi

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

ITALY man­ager Mar­cello Lippi has de­scribed Eng­land striker Wayne Rooney as world-class and said he dreams of pit­ting his wits against Fabio Capello.

The World Cup-win­ning coach, who has been hit by a num­ber of high-pro­file in­juries in the run-up to the tour na­ment, hailed the Manch­ester United striker as one of Eng­land’s most in­flu­en­tial play­ers.

Speak­ing to the Mir­ror, Lippi said: “Wayne Rooney is a ma­jor player for them (Eng­land). He is one of the best play­ers in the World.

“His tech­ni­cal and mental skills have a ma­jor ef­fect on his team, he is sim­ply ex­tra­or­di­nary. It would be great to come up against Fabio Capello’s Eng­land side at some stage of the tour­na­ment. “I would ab­so­lutely love that.” Lippi also be­lieves that his Ital­ian side can re­peat the feat of Italy’s 1938 team by re­tain­ing the World Cup. It has only been achieved twice in his­tory, with Brazil also win­ning it for the sec­ond time in a row in 1962.

“Dur­ing the last 80 years the World Cup has only been won twice in a row, by our­selves and Brazil,” he con­tin­ued. “There is ev­i­dence that it will be tough for any­one else to achieve that feat. We have the chance again though.

“We didn’t per­form that well in our qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the tour­na­ment but my play­ers will have the chance to come to­gether and prove we are ca­pa­ble of re­tain­ing the tro­phy.

“Italy doesn’t go to World Cup fi­nals just to per­form well, Italy will go to South Africa to win.

“We can­not for­get we are still the world cham­pi­ons and that’s not boast­ing, it is just as a nation we know what is nec­es­sary to win it again.

“To achieve this we need to be psy­cho­log­i­cally pre­pared, have the tech­ni­cal skill, be pos­i­tive and also have a bit of luck – why not?” – The Tele­graph

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