Rooney says England must improve

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney believes England have a lot of improving to do if they are to stand a chance of lifting the World Cup in South Africa next year.

After missing out on even qualifying for Euro 2008 under Steve McClaren, the Three Lions have made giant strides under new coach Fabio Capello.

However, ahead of Saturday's high-profile friendly with five-time winners Brazil, Rooney laid bare his feelings on England's standing in the current game.

"Of course we are in with a chance," he said.

"But there is a lot of hard work to do yet and there is a lot of improving that we have to do if we are going to win it.

"Our results have been better in qualification than they have in friendlies.

"We did beat Germany but Brazil are number one in the world and this is a massive game for us.

"We need to play some good football if we are going to win."

With Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard among the big names missing out at the weekend, there will be more pressure on Rooney to perform if England are going to achieve their fourth victory over Brazil.

It will be Rooney's first meeting with the world's most glamorous team.

But, in a week that has been dominated by the diving issue following David Ngog's controversial tumble in Liverpool's draw with Birmingham at Anfield on Monday, the Manchester United striker will not be tempted to dive in order to get a result.

"As a footballer, I try to be honest," he stressed.

"But there are some times when you go down and it looks worse than it is.

"You might be trying to protect yourself from a defender trying to kick you and are merely trying to get out of the way.

"On other occasions, it is a blatant dive. You have to try and get the balance right."