Rooney tipped to be top star in World Cup

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sport -

ENG­LAND skip­per Steven Ger­rard has tipped Wayne Rooney to be­come the biggest star of the 2010 World Cup.

That’s quite some state­ment with hot tal­ents like Lionel Messi, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo, Kaka and a galaxy of Span­ish stars all set to shine in South Africa.

But Ger­rard is adamant his fel­low Scouser can take the world by storm, just like Pele back in 1970 and Diego Maradona 16 years later.

“He is in a po­si­tion to do that,” said Ger­rard. “Wayne’s con­fi­dence is sky high. Phys­i­cally he is in great shape and is com­ing off the back of an un­be­liev­able sea­son, prob­a­bly his best.

“He is in the cat­e­gory of the best play­ers and the stage is set for him to de­liver be­cause he can be Eng­land’s main man and he can shoot us to glory, and the play­ers around him make sure he’s aware of it.”

Maradona is the ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple of some­one who had a dark side to his char­ac­ter. No-one could ac­cuse Rooney of even get­ting close to ap­proach­ing the cur­rent Ar­gentina coach’s many ex­cesses.

But there is un­doubt­edly a com­bustible el­e­ment to his game that re­mains de­spite the hard work he has put in try­ing to curb it.

It came to the fore again in Mon­day’s prac­tice match against the Plat­inum Stars when he was yel­low-carded for a foul-mouthed blast at the ref­eree, but Ger­rard can see no re­quire­ment for Rooney to re­proach him­self.

“Peo­ple talk about the yel­low card he got the other day but that is Wayne Rooney,” con­tin­ued Ger­rard (be­low). “He is al­ways on the edge. He has got that fire in his belly.

“I know Wayne. I know about his up­bring­ing and his back­ground. We have a good un­der­stand­ing on the pitch be­cause we are quite close off it. “If Wayne chan­nels his frus­tra­tions in the right way he can be one of the play­ers of this tour­na­ment.”

READY TO SHINE: Wayne Rooney can be the biggest star.

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