Ferdinand backs Rooney to impress

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The Independent Football

Rio Ferdinand is backing Wayne Rooney to deliver a top notch performance after his recent problems in England's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley tonight.

Rooney has been declared fit barely two weeks after an ankle injury threatened the participation of the Manchester United striker.

He has also had to deal with allegations about events in his private life.

But Ferdinand, restored as captain after returning from injury, has faith in Rooney to repeat the form he showed in last month's qualifiers with Bulgaria and Switzerland as a second striker.

Ferdinand said: "Wayne has been under immense pressure because of the reasons we know, but he has been fantastic in training. He has been the same old Wazza around the training ground, which we all love.

"If we are going to win anything, we need him playing to his tip top form. I am sure we will see a good performance from him against Montenegro."

Ferdinand believes Rooney will have had all the advice he has needed in recent weeks.

He said: "I think Wayne will have had a lot of advice from various different quarters. I've been in situations to know that sometimes you don't want to be peppered by everybody.

"You want to dissect things yourself and make your own choices.

"When you feel you want to ask a question, you do. Wayne will have had people around him offering advice."

Ferdinand admits there is a good spirit in the England squad he has rejoined for the first time since suffering a knee ligament injury which ruled him out of the World Cup.

He said: "It is a fresh squad, with a few fresh faces. Training alongside the likes of Jack Wilshere and Adam Johnson, these are hungry, talented boys, who are trying to get into the team.

"I feel quite old having these 20-year-old lads running around my feet. But there is a good ambience. Long may it continue.

"It is unfortunate when you have injuries in the squad, but football is about players coming in and taking their chance, putting themselves in the manager's eye.

"We have some very good players in this squad. Fingers crossed we can put on a good performance and give the fans what they want."

Not that Ferdinand is taking anything for granted as Montenegro top the group with maximum points from their opening three games.

He said: "I have seen Montenegro play before. They have some talented players. I knew they would be one of the stand-out teams in the group.

"I knew it would be a hard game. We have to make sure we bring our A game and put the match to bed because they have started very well in the group."