Rooney can eclipse former Man Utd team-mate Ronaldo at Euros
Sharethematch.com looks at Wayne Rooney's return to the England fold, and why he can outshine Cristiano Ronaldo
Rooney can eclipse Ronaldo
Ronaldo was in devastating mood on Sunday night – electric runs, powerful strikes and a match-winning performance. Now is the time for the Manchester United striker to do likewise.
But will he? Reports emanating from the England camp are encouraging. He is seemingly relaxed, on-target and raring to go, with a lack of match fitness not an issue.
The crucial matter to establish from his training ground performances is his state of mind. Two years ago he was completely off-form. Following a late foot injury sustained against Bayern Munich, he was rushed back to salvage United’s campaign far too early and never truly recovered for the World Cup.
The Paul Gascoigne decline has been well documented, and Sir Alex Ferguson has drilled into Rooney the importance of maintaining a healthy mind and sharp fitness.
It was a timely reminder for the 26-year-old at the halfway point of last season. He has responded well, and finished the season in fine form – perhaps the best finish for eight years before his hugely impressive Euro 2004.
It is accurate to say Ronaldo outshone Rooney during their embryonic years at United, but on Tuesday night against Ukraine, the England striker can abscond from that daunting shadow. It is worth remembering that during the 2011 Champions League final humiliation, he was the only United player to leave Wembley wrapped in admiration.
If England go a goal down, a fight back led by Rooney will surpass Ronaldo’s heroics against the Netherlands.
We need Rooney to stoke the flames of the England heart when staring defeat in the face – we just don’t want him to see red again.
Record-breaker Cole deserves credit
Ashley Cole will become the England player with the most appearances at major tournaments on Tuesday night – and once again he is proving he remains the best around.
It is unbelievable that Glen Johnson was being championed for his performance against Sweden, with many claiming he was England’s best defender.
The reason, they said, was because he ‘got back’ to make two or three vital last-ditch challenges. What they failed to point out, however, was that his lack of positional sense, and his ball-watching, put him in that position in the first place.
He is lucky he is blessed with considerable pace to bail him out. He was cuplable for both Sweden goals – playing Olof Mellberg onside for the first, and then losing the former Aston Villa man when marking him from a set-piece for the second.
Fellow full-back Cole – who was infact England’s best defender against the Swedes – should be applauded for his record-breaking 21st major tournament appearance.
He has, remarkably, played all but 15 minutes of every Three Lions World Cup or European Championship finals match going back to 2002 in Japan and Korea.
And has he ever let his country down? On the pitch, certainly not. The brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to get the better of him.
He is consistently outstanding for England, solid in defence and bright going forward. The hope is he continues to enjoy playing international football, because there is certainly another World Cup in him, and given his good fitness and continued excellence, possibly the 2016 European Championship too.
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