I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN - ROONEY
Wayne Rooney prepared to make his eagerly-anticipated European Championship entrance but warned: "I'm not going to win the Euros on my own."
Rooney has been forced to watch England's opening two Group D games of the tournament from the sidelines while serving a suspension but manager Roy Hodgson has all but confirmed the nation's talisman will start Tuesday's decisive match against Ukraine.
With Rooney's team-mates having already secured four points in his absence, expectations will be raised that the Manchester United star could lead his country to something better than a quarter-final berth.
But he said on Sunday afternoon: "I don't put that pressure on myself, to be honest.
"There are 23 players in the squad and there's pressure on us all.
"It's great that we've scored a few goals and we've put the points on the board.
"I'm not going to win the Euros on my own.
"There are 23 players who are going to contribute to try to help us win the tournament or go as far as we can."
England need only a draw in Donetsk to reach the knockout stage and Rooney added: "Hopefully, I get an opportunity to play and try to shine and help us get through the group."
Considering Rooney's record in tournaments since he took Euro 2004 by storm as a rookie teenager, the 26-year-old actually has a lot to prove on the biggest stage.
Despite having not played 90 minutes for more than a month, he confirmed he was fully fit, and asked if now could be the time for him to deliver, he said: "I hope so.
"I think England are a massive football team, a massive football nation.
"Not just over the last four tournaments but maybe over the last 30-odd years, we haven't fulfilled that potential.
"Our country needs to be winning trophies with the history of the country.
"Hopefully, it will happen this time. We've got a great group of young players there."
Rooney has had plenty of time to cast his eye over those players in the past week thanks to his moment of madness in October's final qualifier in Montenegro.
The forward was seen kicking virtually every ball from the stands against France and Sweden and he said: "It's more difficult than playing.
"When you're playing, you can always do something to try try to change the game.
"Obviously, sitting in the stands, then there's nothing you can do."
Two of the younger players to shine in Rooney's absence have been United team-mate Danny Welbeck and Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, both of who started and scored in Friday's 3-2 win over Sweden.
Carroll will almost certainly make way for Rooney on Tuesday and the latter said: "I know Danny very well and play with him at club level.
"And Andy has come in and done really well - he's a big old fashioned number nine.
"They are two very capable players of playing - and you mustn't forget Jermain [Defoe] as well.
"Between us, there are four good strikers there."
Rooney was part of England's World Cup debacle two years ago and he suggested Hodgson had made changes for the better, admitting it was a happier, more relaxed camp than under Italian manager Fabio Capello in South Africa.
He added: "I think it helps everyone being English. There are no words lost in translation.
"The manager trusts his players, which is obviously a big help to the players.
"Under the other managers, there was an element of trust there.
"Roy's come in and he's obviously given us a lot of rest time as well and a lot of down time, and we understand what he wants from us."
What Hodgson really wants is for England to avoid the same fate as Russia on Saturday night, Dick Advocaat's men crashing out of Euro 2012 despite winning their first game 4-1.
Like the Russians, England need only a point to progress and Rooney said: "If we have to take a point then we'll happily do that.
"But we're going into the game to try to get the three points."
He added: "We've got a big belief in ourselves.
"We believe we're good enough to get through the group stages."
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