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  

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
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

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain