Rooney confident ahead of Italy battle

England striker Wayne Rooney believes Italy have plenty to fear from the young Lions in their World Cup opener, according to ESPN.

Striker Rooney is confident that the squad that head coach Roy Hodgson has chosen is capable of success in Brazil. Italy knocked England out of the European Championships in 2012 following a penalty shoot-out, but Rooney thinks this time it could be a different story.

He believes that while the Italian squad has remained largely unchanged since the clash in Kiev, the more youthful England team have moved on and have more energy and excitement. Rooney insisted: “Italy have some great players, but they should be more worried about our team.”

The Manchester United man has endured plenty of criticism recently, particularly regarding his fitness, but he appears to be in bullish mood ahead of the World Cup, insistent that he is adequately prepared and ready for the tournament.

Rooney said: “I don’t care what anyone says. I’m ready for this World Cup. I am focused. I’m not worried about anything, the manager has got a job to do and pick the team and whoever he picks I’ll respect that and do my best to help the team.”

Rooney is also confident that fellow Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck will also be ready for the match in Manaus, after Welbeck appeared to have injured his hamstring in training earlier in the week. Rooney reported that while Welbeck had indeed missed a subsequent training session, he was expected to return to action on Friday.

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