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Hodgson calls on Rooney to step up

ESPN staff
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Wayne Rooney has not scored in two World Cups for England © Getty Images
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Roy Hodgson wants Wayne Rooney to silence his critics by inspiring England to a win in their opening World Cup match against Italy.

Rooney has come under fire of late and there have been calls from some for him to be dropped by Hodgson.

Manager Hodgson, though, is hoping the Manchester United striker can prove his doubters wrong in the Group D clash on Saturday.

"That [match] will be [the time] for Wayne to show them," he told a news conference when asked about criticism of Rooney.

"The World Cup is a major event, the coverage is quite enormous - all the journalists who are out here, the TV stations, the radio stations, it's just par for the course that there are going to be lots of opinions.

"A lot of those opinions will be opinions that players may not want to hear. But the good thing is, Wayne Rooney has got a chance."

Hodgson has praised Rooney for saying he intends to "enjoy" the World Cup, but he does not want his player to be too laid back come Saturday night.

"I think [his comments] are a sign of maturity,'' Hodgson said. "The word 'enjoy' is a dangerous word to some extent, you only ever enjoy things that you do well, if things don't go well or you don't feel like you've realised your full potential as a player, enjoyment is hard to find."

Rooney ended a run of four matches without a goal by finding the net in England's 2-2 draw against Ecuador last week.

And the former Everton man is hopeful that he can build on that strike at the World Cup.

''I hope it can be the catalyst for me,'' Rooney said. ''I just want to try and do well. If the way previous years have gone, in terms of scoring bunches... if that happens, then great.

''There have been times where, unfairly, I have been pulled up on it, for not scoring for a few games. I remember somebody saying I hadn't scored for six games and I was literally playing in a deep-lying midfield role for those six games, which seemed a bit unfair. It is something that I have never really quite understood.

''I want to do well. I want to score goals and help England be successful. I know if I have a good tournament, if I play well, then the team will play well.''

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