sport

England squad excites Rooney

Wayne Rooney hopes England's young squad can take the World Cup by surprise and go all the way to the final.

Rooney accepts that the group selected by Roy Hodgson lacks experience at major tournaments and he is not sure how they will perform in Brazil.

However, he is excited about the potential of players such as Daniel Sturridge, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana and believes England could be successful if they gel together quickly.

"The one weakness is that we have a lot of players who haven't got any real experience of tournament football," he added.

"I don't think anyone can predict what will happen to England in Brazil - and that's why I am really excited about this World Cup.

"I've got absolutely no idea how we are going to perform.

"We could have a massive impact on the tournament, go all the way to the final and surprise everyone.

"All I can say is that the potential and quality we have got in this squad is really exciting.

"I look at lads like Daniel Sturridge, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana and I can't help but be positive about what we can do.

"It's mad because we've got so many good young players."

Rooney is one of the experienced campaigners in the England squad and, having racked up 89 international appearances, recognises that he will have to show the youngsters the way.

He said: "When I look back at Euro 2004, I was the youngest player in the squad, but I was able to call on a lot of top experienced international players to help me through.

"So, it will be up to the likes of Steve Gerrard, Frank Lampard and myself to pass on our knowledge of playing in these tournaments to the younger lads.

"I know, from what happened to me 10 years ago, that the flip side of being inexperienced is that young players go into big games with absolutely no fear. I remember going to Portugal and wondering what all the fuss was about.

"I played with no fear and I just wanted to go out on to the big stage and express myself.

"It was the best I have played at a big international tournament and, hopefully, a few of the younger lads in the squad will react in the same way that I did."

Rooney feels that he has unfinished business at the World Cup, having seen his preparations for the 2006 and 2010 tournaments disrupted by injuries and then not been able to produce his best form.

He added: "I have always been honest with myself and the truth is that, while I've been lucky enough to win a lot of things with United, I do feel there is something missing in my career with England.

"After the injury problems I have had in the build-up to my two previous World Cups, I really hope this can be my tournament.

"I haven't scored at a World Cup yet and that's something I want to put right because it does wind me up.

"I want to do better this time - not just for myself - but because I know that, if I am playing well, then I'll be helping the team."