Gerrard backs Rooney to perform - International - Football - The Independent

Gerrard backs Rooney to perform

England skipper Steven Gerrard believes Wayne Rooney will be in the right frame of mind to shine in tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland.

Rooney will be back in action in Basle for the first time since allegations concerning his private life appeared in a Sunday newspaper.

The Manchester United star has been in the spotlight for the past 48 hours and the behaviour expected of top players has been a constant source of debate.

But Fabio Capello confirmed Rooney will start against the Swiss and Gerrard believes returning to play football can be a "release" for a player if he is encountering off-the-pitch problems.

Rooney looked back to his best before attracting the front-page headlines in setting up all four goals during Friday's 4-0 success over Bulgaria at Wembley.

Gerrard said: "I haven't spoken to Wayne about his issues off the field because, to be blunt, they are nothing to do with me.

"Wayne knows I'm here for him as a friend and also as a team-mate but he seems fine to me.

"He trained well yesterday and wants to play. I just hope he performs to the level as on Friday when he was superb.

"The team certainly need him to play at that sort of level if we are to get the three points we are after. When he is on top form, he can score and create goals and win matches on his own."

Gerrard admitted: "If you have got issues off the pitch, football can be a release and when the game kicks off you are totally focused on it.

"You have to push off-the-park matters to one side and only come back to them when a game is over but that's the same for most footballers."

Rooney looked at ease when operating in a deeper role against Bulgaria who found it hard to contain the former Everton player.

Gerrard said: "Wayne showed why is one of the best players in the world because he can drop deep, link the midfield to the attack, set goals up and get into dangerous positions himself.

"Certainly, I wouldn't want to be facing him in the kind of form he was in the other evening. But it is important we are not distracted by anything, not just the issue with Wayne Rooney.

"I am expecting another big performance from him."

Two years ago England set the benchmark for their World Cup qualification campaign with a 4-1 victory over Croatia in Zagreb.

In the same way, Switzerland represent England's biggest threat to qualifying automatically for the 2012 finals and they showed their pedigree with victory over eventual World Cup winners Spain in South Africa.

Gerrard said: "I think it will be difficult to get a 4-1 scoreline this time. Switzerland are a very good team, very organised defensively and difficult to score against.

"But we want to build on Friday's performance and we will go into the game full of confidence. Our target when we came together last week was six points. A draw against the Swiss would be a decent result but we want the three points."

The only selection issue for Capello appears to be whether to persevere with Gary Cahill in place of the injured Michael Dawson in defence or recall Matthew Upson.

But Gerrard has faith in whoever Capello decides to put into place alongside Phil Jagielka.

He said: "You don't have to change much after winning 4-0 but I am sure whoever plays at centre-half will do a good job.

"Gary Cahill did well when he came on the other night and Matthew Upson did a superb job in the qualifiers for us and also played in the World Cup.

"We are aware it is our first away game since the World Cup and will be a big test but we are up for the challenge and confident."

News
Residents of James Turner Street such as White Dee will have a chance to share their experiences of benefits on a Channel 4 spin-off show
peopleBenefits Street star says mixed-race children were subjected to trolling
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Extras
indybest
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Life and Style
Jourdan Dunn gave TopShop’s Unique show some added glamour at London Fashion Week
fashion week
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
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

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories