Rooney issues warning: Watch out Europe, England is coming
Considering the Three Lions haven’t even qualified for the last eight yet - they need at least a draw against Ukraine tonight - many may view that claim to be the product of Rooney’s excitement at ending his two-match ban.
However, the Manchester United man thinks he’s seen enough of his side from the stands to predict big things.
The match against the hosts, though, is no walk in the park. The Ukrainians know victory will guarantee them passage through to the quarter-finals and have been told by boss Oleg Blokhin to rise to the occasion.
But for Rooney, there’s going to be only one winner of the decider in Donetsk.
“We’re good enough to win [the tournament],” the striker, who will be in the starting line-up, said. “I know obviously everyone doesn’t want us to build up expectations but I firmly believe that we’ve got the players to do it.”
While some may snigger at such a suggestion - victory against a sloppy Sweden is hardly cause for bold predictions - Rooney’s sensed a change in the England camp from past competitions.
“The tournament feels a lot shorter, whereas South Africa felt like it was dragging out,” the 26-year-old added.
“We went to Austria for two weeks before the World Cup and by the time we got to the tournament your head has gone a bit already. All the squad are happy here. It is a happy camp.”
If Rooney’s return wasn’t enough, England have been boosted the news super sub Theo Walcott will be fit to play after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, Ukraine also received some good fortune on the injury front as their date with destiny approaches.
Key man Andriy Shevchenko took part in a squad training session yesterday after earlier being rated as having only a 50-50 chance of playing in the Group D decider.
The talismanic 35-year-old striker, who scored both goals in his side’s 2-1 win over Sweden, missed training on Sunday because he could not bend his knee.
Elsewhere, Erik Hamren insists the Swedes are determined to go out of Euro 2012 on a high and will not roll over against France in tonight’s other match, despite the fact they can no longer progress to the quarters.
Les Bleus only need a point to advance, but Sweden boss Hamren said: “Tuesday’s match is important for Sweden and for other sides.
“I want to see the same professionalism that the players have already shown here. We want to win the match".