Wayne Rooney Must Remain Calm to Lead England at the World Cup

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2014

England's Wayne Rooney lines up to play against Germany in the international friendly soccer match between England and Germany, at Wembley Stadium in London, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Wayne Rooney can finally establish himself as a world-class performer by taking the World Cup in Brazil by storm, but he will only achieve that if he takes my advice—calm down and relax.

I know that Rooney has underperformed in the major tournaments for England, and I heard about Alan Hudson suggesting that Roy Hodgson shouldn't even bother to take him to Brazil because he has been such a huge letdown in the past.

"He is not world class because he’s never proved it on the world stage," Hudson told Reuters, via the Globe and Mail, this week. "He turns up every now and then and great players don’t just turn up every now and then. "  

I simply don’t agree with that assessment, although, of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions. But don't take Rooney! No, I don’t agree with that at all. Of course, I would take Wayne Rooney to Rio.

But I would tell him that to reach his peak in world football, he needs to clam down, relax and play his normal game.

I would talk to him and tell him that his problem is that he tries too hard to live up to his reputation when he gets on the world stage with England.

Rooney simply tries too hard, and it shows. He needs to be as natural as he can be, to play his natural game, to enjoy himself and have the right approach to the game at the very top level, because he is a world-class talent and he hasn't done himself justice.

With the right approach, the right attitude and the right coaxing, he can do it.

And if Wayne Rooney does it in Brazil, then there is every chance that England will surprise quite a few people. If Rooney plays well, England play well. Rooney is still England's No. 1 striker.

And Roy Hodgson isn’t blessed at that end of the team, with seven or eight top-class goalscorers, to even consider leaving Wayne Rooney at home.

They are pretty thin in that area, more so than I can ever recall. If Rooney is fit, then he is a must for the team.

They will need Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to be firing on all cylinders and to be fit and on peak form to give England a chance of doing well.

Pick Rooney, as I am sure Roy Hodgson will do, and he has a great opportunity to prove himself at the highest level at long last.


Glenn Hoddle is technical director of the Elite Legends Cup tournament at Brisbane Road on Sunday May 18 with the greatest legends from Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham.