Euro 2012: We’re good enough to reach the final, says upbeat Wayne Rooney

June 6th, 201211:11 pm @


“We know as players that we’ve been expected to do better than we have done in
recent years,” he said. “We understand that when you play for England you’re
there to be shot at. We need to be sure we give our all and that when the
tournament comes we try to win. If we do that and we’re not good enough,
then we’ll hold our hands up.

“I don’t see why we can’t win it. We’ve certainly got the players and the
quality. The new manager coming in has lifted everybody. As players, we know
there’s been a lot of changes to the squad and a lot of younger players
given the opportunity.

“We expect big things of ourselves, to come out here and do well. If people
don’t expect that, it’s down to them. As long as we expect it of ourselves,
we know we’re good enough to get to the semi-finals or the final, so that’s
the aim.”

Rooney admitted his suspension was the “price I have to pay for making that
mistake” in Podgorica but added that he would prepare and train as “normal”
for the first two group matches and then hoped to repay the faith that
Hodgson had shown in him with the England manager admitting he was “happy
the expectations are more realistic”.

He added: “That’s certainly a good thing. Football players are under enormous
pressure. They are young men under enormous pressure. As a coach you put
them under that pressure and the nation and the general public do as well. I
think players, everywhere, struggle to cope with that. One of the major
conundrums for a coach of a top team to solve is when you might have the
quality of player but have to make certain they have the mental strength or
character to deal with all that’s asked of them.”

Despite the problems with this squad, through injuries and through the
decision not to select Ferdinand, Hodgson said he believed he had a group of
players who did not lack confidence.

“I wouldn’t have thought any of my players lack that self-belief,” he said.
“The Manchester City players have just won the league for the first time
since 1968, the Chelsea players have won the Champions League, the
Manchester United players only lost the title on goal difference, the
Everton players have had a fantastic season. I would expect all these
players to have confidence and self-belief. If they don’t, I’ll ask then
‘Why haven’t you got it? If I was as good as you I’d have loads of

Hodgson refused to be drawn on what would be deemed as success in this
tournament. “I don’t like to quantify these things,” he said. “It’s
important for us to enjoy the journey. I’m always disappointed at
tournaments with the negativity that surrounds all the teams.

“I saw it in South Africa, at the Euro Championships I’ve attended with Uefa,
at the World Cup [1994] with Switzerland. I’ve often come away with the
feeling that I have not enjoyed it. The feelings have been very negative and
people haven’t seemed to enjoy it.

“It’s a great thing to qualify for the European Championships. Only 16 teams
are here out of more than 50 who started. You don’t get many opportunities
in your career to play in a major tournament and we’ve got to try to make
certain we understand that it’s not a bad thing to be here.”

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