Owen predicts Rooney success

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Michael Owen has tipped Wayne Rooney to make a spectacular impact at this summer's Euro 2004 finals - just as Owen did at the 1998 World Cup.

Rooney, 18, has 11 caps going into the tournament, but Owen was even less experienced six years earlier. He was two months younger than Rooney is now, had just six caps and was not even a regular in the England side.

Glenn Hoddle nevertheless promoted him ahead of Teddy Sheringham for the third group game against Colombia after scoring as a substitute against Romania. And 16 minutes into the second round game against Argentina, he made the whole world aware of his talent with his striking ability.

Asked whether Rooney could repeat the feat, Owen said: "Let's hope so. We all hope he's that sort of player who does things like that. Some players are just lucky and do rise to the occasion. It's a bit of an unknown with Wayne because we've never seen him play outside the Premiership, apart from a few qualifiers for England.

"But the early indications from the games he's played in so far are that he does like to score spectacular goals. Let's hope he can do it as well in the big games. He can be anything he wants to be. It's up to him how he wants his career to pan out and how much he's willing to sacrifice everything else."

Rooney remembers the moment that Owen scorched past the Argentina defence, even though Rooney was only 12 at the time. He said: "I saw the game at my nan's. Afterwards, I went straight outside to recreate it with my mates."

He added: "People have tried to compare me with Michael Owen at France '98 because I am the same age as he was then. But I don't think 'this is my chance to do what he did'. I'm just a young lad and I want to do my best. But we believe we can do it."