England v Costa Rica World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney urges England to get ‘nasty’

Manchester United forward believes that Roy Hodgson’s players were victims of their honesty

Rio de Janeiro

Wayne Rooney has called on England players to be more “nasty” if they are to succeed in tournament football, citing Uruguay’s cynical attitude as a key factor in their victory on Thursday night that helped eliminate Roy Hodgson’s team from the World Cup.

Speaking for the first time since England were knocked out by Costa Rica’s win over Italy, Rooney backed Hodgson to push through changes which would improve performances. But the Manchester United man also said that England players needed to adopt a streetwise attitude to tournament football.

He said: “I think you look at teams who have won the tournament over previous years and you can see that nastiness in them. I think we need to get that in us. I feel, as a team, maybe we are too honest. In terms of Uruguay the other night, they stopped the game, they committed I don’t know how many fouls.

“They were clever fouls, really, to slow the game down. I think we’re a bit honest in terms of the way we play. As people have said, it’s small margins. But if those small things can amount to a big thing in terms of staying in the competition or going out, if we can learn that quickly and adapt to that, I think we’ll [improve].”


Rooney was asked about the incident when Uruguay captain Diego Godin, already booked, thrust an arm across the throat of Daniel Sturridge. Very little pressure was applied by the England players to the Spanish referee to dismiss the Uruguayan. Could England have made more of it? “Of course,” Rooney said. “You see players surrounding the referees – I’m not saying Uruguay did that – but I’m the same now. I want to win the game. I got kicked ten times and I don’t think there was a yellow card given to an opponent.

“We try to be honest, but maybe that’s a fault of ours. We gave everything to try and win games. It hasn’t happened. It’s tough. We have to stay strong now and try and improve.”

Read more: What next for Hodgson's failed squad?
FA stands by Hodgson - the only tactic it hasn't tried yet
A sense of loss pains Gerrard

Asked whether England needed to be more “streetwise”, Rooney agreed. “I think so. You see a lot of the great teams, they have that. I think that will come. But there are a lot of young lads who want to play every minute. They need to learn to slow the game down a bit or control the game a bit more.”

But, he added: “You have to take your chances. If we’d taken at least one of them, we’d have gone on and won the game. That’s what is disappointing.”

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'