Wayne Rooney denies revenge will be motivating factor when England play Montenegro

 

Wayne Rooney insists revenge will not be a motivating factor when England tackle Montenegro in a crucial World Cup qualifier next year.

Rooney will return to Podgorica on March 26, the scene of his dismissal for violent conduct during a Euro 2012 qualifier a year ago.

The red card had long-term effects on Rooney at international level as it resulted in a two-match ban which saw the Manchester United forward miss the opening two games in Poland and Ukraine last summer.

Suffering from a lack of match sharpness, Rooney then failed to produce the kind of form he is capable of when he eventually returned to action as England bowed out of the tournament on penalties to Italy.

He insists he will only be focused on helping England keep on course for Brazil when they return to qualifying action in five months' time with away games against San Marino and Montenegro.

Rooney said: "I won't be looking for revenge against Montenegro, definitely not. That's gone for me. It's not something I think about any more.

"It will be a tough game for the team, so I can't go out there thinking it's time to put things right that have gone before.

"We have to go there as a team and try and get the points. That's what I will be focusing on."

The return encounter with Montenegro is already looking a potential group decider after England's 1-1 draw in Poland last night and Montenegro's 1-0 win in Ukraine

England head into the winter months at the top of the table, although second-placed Montenegro are only a point behind with a game in hand.

But Rooney, who netted his 32nd England goal in Warsaw, is convinced the quality in Roy Hodgson's side will eventually shine through.

He said: "We knew it was a tough group but we're confident. We believe in ourselves. We believe we are the best team in the group so we are confident of qualifying.

"If we can keep picking up points away from home and win the rest of our home games we will have a great chance of going to Brazil in two years' time."

Rooney admits he was not at his best against Poland and was substituted with 17 minutes remaining, although he did score his third goal in two games.

The 26-year-old added: "I know I can play better than that. It was hard work, getting up and down the pitch. The pitch wasn't great, it took a lot out of your legs.

"In the first half I was making long runs back and then trying to get forward, and went out to the left for the second half and I was a bit tired, so I've no problem with being taken off."

PA

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