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'Scary' Rooney must start, says Beckham

ESPN staff
June 9, 2014 « Mauresmo faces tough task with Murray | Suarez: England players want my shirt »
England not under too much pressure

Wayne Rooney's presence on a team sheet still sends a shiver of fear down the spines of the opposition, according to former England captain David Beckham.

Speaking after watching Rooney turn in a less than convincing display in England's final World Cup warm-up game against Honduras on Saturday, Beckham's endorsement for the Manchester United forward was unequivocal.

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There have been suggestions that Rooney's place in Roy Hodgson's England starting line-up for the World Cup opener against Italy next weekend should not be assured, but former team-mate Beckham is convinced the striker still has plenty to offer on the biggest stage of them all.

"When opposing teams see Wayne Rooney's name on an England team-sheet, it still scares them," Beckham said. "I will always back Wazza because he is a great talent and a great player for England.

"It's all about confidence with strikers, but Wazza has always been about more than just scoring goals.

"He's a goalscorer, but he works hard for the team and that is what his game has always been about. If he doesn't score goals, he's either assisting or creating something for the team. He is a creator as well as a scorer.

"Every time he has stepped out in an England shirt, he has always given 110%. When Wazza turns up, he always gives everything."

Beckham was then asked about the comments of Rooney's former United colleague Paul Scholes, who suggested the striker's best days may be behind him in a recent interview.

"Scholesy knows Wayne as well and has been around him more than I have," he added. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I thought Wayne was the shining light for United last season when the team struggled a bit."

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