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Uruguay v England preview

England head into their second Group D game against Uruguay buoyed by an impressive performance against Italy, despite defeat.

Confidence is high, having lived up to the hype that surrounded Roy Hodgson's youthful group of players ahead of the tournament. They undoubtedly deserved at least a point in Manaus.

Chief among the positive performances was that of Raheem Sterling, who burst into life early in the game and must surely keep his place at number 10 in Hodgson's team.

But despite setting up Daniel Sturridge for the goal, Wayne Rooney's continued status as one of the first names on the teamsheet has fallen under major scrutiny, with many calling for him to be axed altogether.

Boss Hodgson, however, has backed the man whom others believe is still England's talisman, and suggested he will keep his place no matter what position he plays.

"He came into this tournament wanting to do very well and I think he will do,\" Hodgson told the BBC.

"Wayne has got broad shoulders and he's getting a lot of support from everyone around him. We've got a very clear perspective as to what Wayne is and what Wayne can do.

"We're hoping for big things from him."

Vice- captain Frank Lampard has also come out in Rooney's defence this week, citing an agenda against the Manchester United striker that is counter-productive towards England's pursuit of World Cup success.

England were further lifted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's return to training this week although he is not expected to play any part in a side Hodgson is not expected to change either, with no other fitness concerns among the squad.

And wherever Hodgson decides to play both Rooney and Sterling, there is a belief England can claim their first victory of the tournament and lift themselves onto a strong platform by which to qualify for the knockout stages.

In their favour are the fitness concerns of two of Uruguay's most influential players; striker Luis Suarez and captain Diego Lugano.

Lugano, the 33-year-old centre-half and mainstay of Uruguay's back-four for a number of years, is out of the clash with a knee injury.

Suarez has only just recovered from having knee surgery himself and missed the shocking defeat to Costa Rica in their opening game.

And even his manager Oscar Tabarez has admitted he will not be the same player the English have become accustomed to ripping Premier League defences to shreds for Liverpool.

"He has been training and playing with his teammates during this last week," Tabarez said.

\"Obviously training sessions are not the same as matches, if he plays we must consider the possibility that he is not as well as he was during the Premier league.

\"But even if he is not 100 per cent, he is somebody who can give a lot to his team and that is something we are considering now."

To make matters worse for Uruguay, and better for England, the impressive Maxi Pereira is suspended for the tie having been sent off in injury time against Costa Rica.

England's pass completion rate against Italy was 91 per cent - the highest they have ever recorded in a World Cup game.

They are playing with real verve and excitement and all they need to do know is add the finishing touch and end result they most certainly deserve.