World Cup: Chance for Rooney redemption

World Cup: Chance for Rooney redemption
England's forward Wayne Rooney passes the ball during the international friendly football match between England and Peru at Wembley Stadium in north London on May 30, 2014. Rooney was named England captain on Aug 28.

As I've said,I would always have needed the game time. I am ready to play. I am sure the manager will have a tough decision but I am ready.

- Wayne Rooney

WAYNE ROONEY

(MANCHESTER UNITED)

Age: 28 Caps: 90 Goals: 38

England's talisman and all-time top scorer in World Cup qualifying, but has yet to find the net in the World Cup Finals despite playing in two editions.

This time, though, it's different.

With the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Rickie Lambert and Raheem Sterling in form, Rooney no longer has to shoulder the goal-scoring burden alone, but can he seize the opportunity?

They called him the White Pele.

They thought he was England's Messiah.

But 11 years into his international career, he is best remembered as England's big-tournament flop.

He was never fully fit at the 2006 World Cup, couldn't shake off the lethargy in the 2010 edition, and dug himself a massive hole in Euro 2012 by getting himself suspended for the first two group matches.

To say that patience is wearing thin on the man, whose off-the-field shenanigans over the years haven't exactly won him many fans, is an understatement.

Yet, Rooney was brilliant for England once.

As a wide-eyed teenager, he took Europe by storm at Euro 2004.

He played four matches in Portugal and scored four goals.

NO FEAR

Most memorably, he played without fear.

Defenders dreaded his mazy runs, goalkeepers braced themselves for the worst. Rooney ran at his opponents with the confidence and composure of men twice his age, but did so with an energy level that was almost impossible to keep up with.

Remarkably, in a team comprising the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, John Terry, Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard, it became clear very early into the campaign that England's hopes rested on the 18-year-old Evertonian.

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