sport

Rooney: Place not guaranteed

Wayne Rooney has rejected any suggestion that he is a guaranteed starter for England and takes his place for granted.

The Manchester United forward has seen his international form called into question during the build-up to the 2014 World Cup finals, and again after a 2-1 defeat to Italy in England's opener.

He has, however, been asked to fill a wider role by national coach Roy Hodgson than the central striking post he is accustomed to and favours most.

Hodgson has hinted that he will move Rooney back down the middle for Thursday's crunch clash with Uruguay, with it imperative that England start getting the best out of a key figure.

Rooney is by some distance the top marksman in the England ranks - with 39 international goals to his name - and once again demonstrated his creative instincts against Italy as he laid on Daniel Sturridge's first-half strike.

His value to the cause would appear to be clear for all to see, but the 28-year-old has reacted angrily to those suggesting that he enjoys preferential treatment.

Rooney said: "I've never felt that. I don't know why you said that. Why would I feel my place in the team is guaranteed?

"I work hard to try and get into that team. I have never said my place is guaranteed. I don't expect to play, I work hard. I want to play.

"We have got a lot of good, young players so we will all work hard, all give the manager different options, different choices and whoever he picks,then I am sure we will all respect that."

Rooney insists he will be raring to go against Uruguay if selected, with an energy-sapping evening in the Amazonian heat of Manaus having done little to curb his enthusiasm and desire to drive England forward.

Having covered nearly seven miles against Italy, more than any other player on the pitch, Rooney added: "I've no problem doing that.

"I know I have run a lot in games and I have no problem doing that. I felt no problems at all.

"To be honest, I can only speak on behalf of myself, I felt absolutely fine. The weather was not an issue, so that's down to the manager (selection on Thursday).

"Obviously he will see over the next couple of days how the lads are and how they recover and will make his decision from there."