England v Scotland: Wembley showdown will provide 'release' for Wayne Rooney amid Manchester United transfer saga

England captain Steven Gerrard reckons unsettled Chelsea target can forget woes in Scotland friendly

Steven Gerrard said he had no fears over Wayne Rooney's state of mind ahead of tomorrow night's England friendly against Scotland, adding that the Manchester United striker's first game of the season – in front of a crowd – would be a "release" for the player.

With his future still unresolved and United refusing to accommodate his wish to join Chelsea, Rooney is expected to start against Scotland. He trained today and is preparing to start only his second match of the pre-season other than a behind-closed-doors game against Real Betis at his club's training ground this month.

Gerrard said he believed Rooney would benefit from tonight's game, with no guarantees that he will be in the starting XI for United's first Premier League game of the season against Swansea City on Saturday. "I think this game is great for Wayne," Gerrard said. "There is a lot of media attention on him at the moment because of his club situation but he has got the chance to get some much-needed minutes under his belt and to play for England, which will be a release for him if you like.

"I've got no doubts that Wayne Rooney can play well and be a key factor in this game and that's all I'm interested in really," Gerrard added. "The best thing for a player when there is a pressure on you and you are in the squad is to be out on the pitch because it all gets parked up and it is a welcome release. I've been in a situation where I've had issues going on off the pitch and you just want to play.

"When the game starts it is fine. You are not thinking about what is going on in your personal life or any other pressures in life. Once that whistle goes you are just thinking about the opposition and the game and doing as well as you can."

Gerrard said he had assessed Rooney's mood and believed that the player was ready in spite of his stand-off with United and their unwillingness to let him leave. "We've chatted as mates and stuff," Gerrard said. "For me I just try and gauge where he is when I meet up with him and what his mood is, and he is certainly looking forward to this game.

"He has trained well and has been scoring regularly in training and is looking forward to getting some minutes under his belt. I think he has been frustrated with injuries throughout the summer. The situation with his club is basically none of my business so it's not for me to comment on.

"I think he is just itching to get out there and play a game. I think he has been frustrated to miss big chunks of pre-season and he is desperate for these minutes under his belt because he wants to get match fit as soon as possible."

Gerrard: ‘We want to beat our local rivals, that's for sure' (PA) Gerrard: ‘We want to beat our local rivals, that's for sure' (PA)  

As England approach the four critical World Cup qualifiers against Moldova, Ukraine (away), Montenegro and Poland, Gerrard conceded that this could be his last 10 months as an international footballer. "I've got to assume it's my last year. I can't assume I'm going to be here in two or three years' time. I've got to make the most of every single game, certainly this year because it's such an important year. For all I know, I might be out of the picture in a year's time. I want to make the most of it, of course."

Wembley was still not sold out as of this evening, although 20,000 Scotland fans are expected to attend. The game is being played in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust and it is only the fourth time that England have played Scotland since 1989, the other matches being the 1999 double-header play-off for Euro 2000 and their meeting at Euro 96. Before the fixture was abandoned because of problems with supporter violence, the two countries played each other every year from 1947 to 1989 – and twice in 1973.

Gerrard said it remained an important game for England. "I know it is classed as a friendly but we want to beat Scotland very much," he admitted. "It hurt when Don Hutchison scored that only goal [in November 1999 at Wembley, when Scotland won 1-0] and of course we are all patriotic Englishmen and we want to beat our local rivals, that's for sure."

Asked whether he agreed with Rio Ferdinand's assessment that England lacked an "identity", Gerrard was dismissive. "To be honest with you, I am not really interested in what Rio Ferdinand has got to say about this group of players. When you play for England there is always a lot of opinions outside the group, especially in a World Cup year.

"There is going to be more people voicing their opinions but when we're inside nobody takes much notice of what is being said on the outside."

The England captain also advocated the early closing of the transfer window, given the uncertainty over the future of his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez and Rooney. "It's a scenario we will have to wait and see what happens. I think the transfer window should be shut earlier. We will have to see what happens with Luis and Wayne."

Joe Hart with patient Matt Burton before the match in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust Joe Hart with patient Matt Burton before the match in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust  

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence