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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test