Trinidad & Tobago ready for England 'with or without Rooney'

The Trinidad & Tobago coach, Leo Beenhakker, insists that his side are happy to face England with or without Wayne Rooney at this summer's World Cup.

The two nations meet in Nuremberg on 15 June and with England the clear favourites, the expected absence of the injured Rooney could favour Beenhakker's men. But the Dutch coach believes this summer's showpiece is the perfect arena for Rooney to showcase his talent and has sent the Manchester United striker his best wishes.

"I am very sorry for the guy," he said. "I think first of all, the World Cup is a platform for great players.

"Football is for the fans and for the public, and they want to see players that can bring something extra, like the Ronaldinhos, and the Eto'os and the Rooneys.

"Those players have to be there because it's exactly what the World Cup is all about and from my heart, I hope he can make it because everybody wants to see him. I hope he is fit and healthy as soon as possible because it would be fantastic to see him play. For us, it doesn't matter if we play England with or without him. They have many great players."

For the former British colony, there has been much hype around the England fixture since the World Cup draw was made in December. Beenhakker has also named 15 British-based players in their final 23-man squad, and coming to England this week for a one-week training camp in Cheshire has done little to ease the anticipation.

Yet the former Ajax and Real Madrid manager insists that he and his players are not getting distracted.

"I'm not fixated on England," he said. "There is always two sides in football. One side is the fans and the media, who like to blow things up, and the other is the professionals, and we are always focused on the next game.

"The most important match in your career is always the next game, and I can assure you that me, the team and the rest of our staff are only focused on one thing, and that's Sweden."

The Soca Warriors, who are making their first World Cup finals appearance, play the Swedes on 10 June in Dortmund, with their final Group B game against Paraguay on 20 June.

Elsewhere, the Olympic boxing silver medallist Amir Khan has advised England's World Cup prodigy Theo Walcott to use the support of his family to help him stay grounded. Walcott was thrown into the media spotlight when the 17-year-old was selected for Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for Germany despite not playing a first-team match for Arsenal

The Bolton boxer Khan, 19, knows all about the pressures of fame having become an overnight star after winning a silver medal at the Athens Olympics two years ago. But he said if he stepped out of line he would expect "a clip round the ear". "It is hard because you are young. The best thing to say is: don't let it get too much - but be yourself," said Khan. "That is what I did at the Olympic Games as I was the youngest member of the team. You also need to keep your family support and keep the right people around you."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project