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Rooney calls for fans' backing

ESPN staff
August 28, 2014 « Morning Bagel: US Open Day Four | Day 6: Maria Ho eliminated, 68 left »
Wayne Rooney replaces Steven Gerrard as England captain

Wayne Rooney has pleaded with England fans to back him after Roy Hodgson named him as Steven Gerrard's replacement as the international side's captain.

Rooney's time in an England shirt has been tempestuous at best - described as "baggage" by Hodgson in his announcement. The striker was sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup and has had several high-profile strops at being substituted - in particular against Spain in 2004 when he tore off a black armband being worn to honour the deceased Emlyn Hughes.

But it was in South Africa in 2010 when he most famously lost his cool with the fans after a dour 0-0 draw against Algeria in the group stage of the World Cup. As the team left to a chorus of dissatisfaction from the traveling support, Rooney snapped into a pitch-side camera: "Nice to see your fans boo you - that's loyal supporters!" And Rooney has asked for a fresh start as he prepares to lead the team out in a friendly against Norway at Wembley on September 3 ahead of the first Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland a week later.

Roy Hodgson says Wayne Rooney was the "obvious choice" to skipper England © Getty Images
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"I hope that I will have the full backing of the fans," he told his official website. "I am their type of player once I am on that pitch. My only thought is to win and give everything I have got and that sharing that desire will be the way I want to captain the team.

"England fans have a massive role to play not just in helping me as the captain but the team as a whole. When our fans sing the national anthem and support us in such numbers around the world I can promise you it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and is an enormous sense of pride for our country."

Rooney added: "I will not look on my England career as a success unless we win something and that is my attitude to playing football. There is no point turning up unless we believe we can win.

"Obviously I will have many personal proud moments playing for England and none more so than when I walk out at Wembley for the first time as the manager's appointed captain, but collectively we want to be known as winners as all professional footballers do.

"We are now starting the cycle of two major international tournaments and reaching both finals and performing to our maximum is what we are aiming for. Anything less I personally will not see as a success."

Rooney, England's youngest ever player when he made his debut against Australia in 2003, has gone on to score 40 goals and is well on his way to breaking Bobby Charlton's tally of 49.

Rooney is also just five short of joining an exclusive club of players with 100 England caps and, at just 28 years old, will have one eye on Peter Shilton's record of 125.

"I have always had a special feeling playing for England," Rooney added. "When pulling on that shirt, I have always felt it is a huge honour and responsibility. I hope to pass that knowledge on with the help of the other senior players to any of the young or new caps that join us.

"As a kid I always loved the occasion of watching a big England game on the television. Back then I had a burning ambition to play for my country. Now to be appointed captain is beyond my wildest dreams.

"I would like to thank Roy and the coaching staff for having the belief and confidence in me to do the job.

"I intend to speak with Steven [Gerrard] about different aspects of the role. We had a great relationship from the moment we played together for our country right up to our final game in Brazil. I am sure if I ever need to seek his advice he will be there to help."

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