The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - SPORT -

The real Wayne Rooney must turn up at the Green Point sta­dium tonight if eng­land are go­ing to reignite their World Cup hopes.

Not the man with the frus­trated de­meanour of re­cent matches. Not the player who ad­mits he was not train­ing flat out at the Aus­trian al­ti­tude train­ing camp be­cause of nig­gling in­juries.

And not the striker who has scored just once for Eng­land in the last 12 months, that against Croa­tia in qual­i­fy­ing.

Eng­land need the Rooney who has been her­alded as one of the three great­est foot­ballers on the planet at the World Cup, along­side Por­tu­gal’s Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Ar­gentina’s Lionel Messi.

They need the player whose form for Manch­ester United was so pro­lific in the mid­part of last sea­son he had as good as tied up the Player of the Year tro­phy on all fronts be­fore any­one had carved the Christ­mas turkey.

‘Wrap Rooney in cot­ton wool’ was the most cliched phrase as Eng­land pre­pared for this World Cup. Well, for­get the cot­ton wool against Al­ge­ria. It is time for Rooney to de­liver.

If he re­ally is to be the great­est English tal­ent of all-time - and there are many who be­lieve he is ca­pa­ble of such an ac­co­lade - then now is the time to prove he is a match-win­ner when it mat­ters most.

That is what de­fines great­ness. It is what made Bobby Charl­ton the most in­flu­en­tial player in English foot­ball his­tory. That abil­ity to raise the lev­els of those around him while mak­ing and scor­ing goals him­self.

Of course Rooney can­not do it all and no-one would sug­gest his slightly be­low-par per­for­mances of late are Eng­land’s biggest con­cern.

Man­ager Fabio Capello has more ba­sic con­cerns.

For a start, does he stick with goal­keeper Robert Green whose howler against the USA cost Eng­land a win­ning start in this tour­na­ment?

You might think it cruel to dump a goal­keeper for one mis­take, how­ever dam­ag­ing, but big tour­na­ments when the nerves are jan­gling and the mind of­ten lit­tle more than a blur need ex­pe­ri­ence - and David James has that.

Let’s face it, Eng­land should beat Al­ge­ria, a nation ranked 30th in the world and who looked de­void of pen­e­tra­tion and am­bi­tion in their first match which ended in a 1-0 de­feat by Slove­nia.

But if Eng­land are to go deep into July in this tour­na­ment they have to find a higher tempo as well as play with more guile. They have to cast off the cau­tion with which Capello sets up his flanks. They have to dare to win.

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