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Euro2012 about to begin for Rooney

posted 17 Jun 2012, 06:59 by Mpelembe   [ updated 17 Jun 2012, 06:59 ]

England striker Wayne Rooney says he is fit and ready to rejoin his team for the match against Ukraine.

Wayne Rooney said on Sunday (June 17) he could not wait for his first Euro2012 game after being kept out of the Championship by a two-match suspension.
Rooney was banned for England's matches against Sweden and France following his sending off for kicking Miodrag Dzudovic during the final qualifier against Montenegro in October.

But he insisted that a lack of match action will not affect his form.

"Since I've joined the squad I took part in every training session," he told reporters. "I feel good so, I'm just ready and excited to go out on to the pitch.

"What happened was a mistake. I understood that. I apologised to the guy, you know, that's gone. Obviously I've paid the price. I've had to take it. I've no problems with my attitude, and no problems with my temperament. I'm happy and I'm ready to play."

After two unbeaten displays characterised by defensive organisation, determination and team spirit, manager Roy Hodgson will face a welcome selection problem for England's final Euro 2012 Group D game against Ukraine on Tuesday.

The return of Rooney means that not only that he will change a winning team following England's dramatic 3-2 triumph over Sweden in Kiev on Friday, but also that he will be forced to omit one of the young strikers he praised for their performance.

Both Andy Carroll, 23, and Danny Welbeck, 21, scored impressive goals, with a towering header and clever back-heeled shot respectively, to earn their manager's appreciation and confirm the arrival of a new, younger generation.

Hodgson, who is proving to be a man capable of making cool decisions in the heat of a fierce contest, has already made clear he will select Rooney for his first appearance of Euro 2012.

Rooney said the team was happy with the manager's trust in the players - adding that having a coach with English as their first language was also a huge positive.

"You know all the coaching stuff, obviously, I think it helped everyone being English," he said. "You know, there no, you know, lost in translation. We understand what the manager wants from us. The manager trusts his players which you know obviously is a big help to the players."

Hodgson has yet to decide who the Manchester United forward replaces, what role he will play and if he changes the shape and style of his robust and functional team.

A self-confessed pragmatist, Hodgson is expected to continue to rely on a solid defence with Rooney adding a measure of control to an attack that often seems detached from the rest of the team.

Match-winning substitute Theo Walcott, who scored his first international goal for four years and then set up the winner for Welbeck, believes unleashing Rooney will give England added impetus in their bid to win the group and avoid defending champions Spain, the probable winners of Group C.

Ukraine have a mountain to climb to beat England and reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after a 2-0 defeat by France exposed a creaking defence which will be sorely tested by Rooney and co.

But Rooney insisted the game would be tough as Ukraine will be on home soil.

"Yeah it will be a big challenge," he said. "You know they will have obviously the majority of the support and the majority of the fans at the stadium. You know, you know. We have been in this situation before. We have to do it and you know, and hopefully we can do that.

"There is pressure on us all. It's great that we scored a few goals in. We've got the points we've got and you know I'm not going to win the Euros on my own. You know there are 23 players overall, who are going to chip to try and hope, you know, win the tournament or go as far as we can."

The co-hosts must aim for an early goal and then shut out England - re-energised by a thrilling 3-2 win over Sweden - if they are to shake off the Donetsk curse on Tuesday and get the three points they need to progress from Group D.

Ukraine, who trail France and England by a point, know anything other than a win will knock them out of the tournament and their fortunes will come down in the end to how well Shevchenko and company perform in front of goal.