Striker Wayne Rooney is determined to prove himself in a World Cup after two indifferent campaigns according to England manager Roy Hodgson.
“The eyes of England, if not the world, are on him,” said Hodgson.
“He will do everything he can to bring out his best qualities. It won’t be for the want of trying or dedication.”
After scoring four goals as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004, Rooney is yet to find the net in eight matches at the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals.
Wayne’s World – Rooney goalless run at World Cup finals
- 2006 group stages: Won 2-0 v Trinidad & Tobago
- 2006 group stages: Drew 2-2 v Sweden
- 2006 second round: Won 1-0 v Ecuador
- 2006 quarter-finals: Drew 0-0 (lost 3-1 on pens) v Portugal
- 2010 group stages: Drew 1-1 v USA
- 2010 group stages: Drew 0-0 v Algeria
- 2010 group stages: Won 1-0 v Slovenia
- 2010 second round: Lost 4-1 v Germany
His campaign at Germany 2006 ended with a red card for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho in a quarter-final defeat, while at South Africa 2010 he turned in a series of indifferent performances and criticised his own fans after a 0-0 draw with Algeria.
Rooney had only just recovered from afractured metatarsal in 2006 and had his build-up to the 2010 tournament disrupted by an ankle injury in late March.
Hodgson said that he had been impressed by his determination to ensure he was at full fitness for Brazil 2014 after missing Manchester United’s final three games of the season through injury.
“He realises what a good player he is, he knows we in England, as a football nation, place a lot of faith in him,” Hodgson added from England’s pre-tournament training camp in Portugal.
“He spent his week off before training here in Portugal and trained in that time.
“He told me he wanted to be 100% ready to train from the first day on Monday and that is exactly how it was.
“He was a little disappointed this morning because I decided to leave him out of an exercise to protect his thigh. If it was up to him he would be out there taking as many shots as any of the others.”
Every member of Hodgson’s squad was able to play a part in Wednesday’s training.
“We will be showing the players in units aspects of the Italian game and how that affects us and what we are going to be wanting to do”
Roy Hodgson on England’s first game at Brazil 2014
Manchester United defender Phil Jones suffered a shoulder injury in early May but was able to do non-contact work with standby defender John Stones, who tweaked a knee on Tuesday.
Midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere have recovered from groin and foot problems to take part during which England used the official World Cup ball in preparation for the tournament.
“I have really enjoyed being with the players these two or three days. I am impressed by the way they have approached this task and the way they are going about their business,” Hodgson added.
“I was prepared to be impressed because they have impressed me every time I have worked with them.”
Hodgson’s team take on Peru in a friendly at Wembley on 30 May and go to Miami for matches against Ecuador and Honduras before their opening World Cup game against Italy in Manaus on 14 June.
England’s pre-World Cup games
30 May: Peru at Wembley
4 June: Ecuador in Miami
7 June: Honduras in Miami
However, the England boss is adamant he does not have a side in mind for that crucial first fixture.
The former Liverpool and West Brom boss said: “We are a long way off. I don’t know how the players are going to be performing in three or four weeks. I don’t know how their fitness will be either.”
Although Hodgson is still pondering his own options, he is already preparing his players with specific video sessions on Italy.
He added: “We are doing a lot of video work in Portugal.
“We will be showing the players in units aspects of the Italian game and how that affects us and what we are going to be wanting to do.
“We are not doing it as individual players. We are talking about how our midfield is going to attack or defend. It will be all the midfielders and not just the four or five who we might choose.”
In addition to Italy, England also face a group encounter with Uruguay on 19 June, before meeting Costa Rica five days later.