Wayne Rooney: There will be no pre-Euro holiday trip this time

Rooney went on holiday to Las Vegas before Euro 2012

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney says that he has learnt the lessons of the last European Championship, when he went on holiday to Las Vegas before the tournament, and that next summer in France the England team simply have to do better than previous efforts.

The England captain was speaking after he had qualified for the sixth major international tournament of his career and thoughts turned to whether he could at last play to his full potential on that stage. At least at Euro 2016 there will be no chance of a pre-tournament holiday, as was the case at Euro 2012 when Rooney was suspended for the first two group games following a red card against Montenegro in qualifying.

The 29-year-old – whose penalty in the 6-0 win over San Marino equalled Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time England goalscoring record of 49, as England secured qualification – went to Las Vegas in May 2012 with his family, Wes Brown and others after his domestic season finished with Manchester United. On that occasion he was afforded the time off because he was to miss the first two games in Ukraine, although subsequently it was felt he allowed his fitness to slip in the intervening period.

Asked how preparation would be different this time, he said: “The training camps have been right. The senior lads will sit down with the manager and the staff organising the tournament to work out what we can do better. I know, personally, when I was suspended before the Euros I went away on holiday which, looking back, I regret. I’ll certainly get my part right this time and, as a team, we are all building to being successful.”

 

“It’s something I’ve learnt. At the time, I thought it was no problem and now I know I obviously shouldn’t have done it. It’s flights and jet lag. I was there with my family, but flying so far it takes a while to get over the jet lag. Maybe not having a long break between the season finishing is probably the best thing.

“We’ve already discussed that. I don’t think we’ll have that long off before the  tournament so the lads won’t have the option to go  too far.”

As for the Euros, Rooney said that he believed he could go further and play at the 2018 World Cup too, qualification notwithstanding, when he will only be 32. That would make him the first Englishman to play at four World Cups. Charlton went to four finals but did not play in 1958.

Rooney said that the staff and players believed that this time it could be different. “It’s something we are working on as a team together, with the coaching staff, with the players. We know we can’t go into a tournament like we did last year [in Brazil] and go out the way we did.

“If we are going to be successful we need to find the way we are going to do that and it’s something we’re working on.”

He added: “It was my 106th cap and as much as I love playing for England and scoring goals, there would be nothing better than being successful with England and that’s all any player wants to do. I’m sure the other lads are no different. It’s the ultimate goal and if I don’t I’ll be disappointed.

“Hopefully, the young players in the future can, but it’s the ultimate goal for me and that’s what I want to do: be successful with England. I think I can go to Russia [in 2018] and then see how I feel but that’s not something I’m thinking about.”

Rooney also said that he was fearful of slipping when he took his 12th-minute penalty because of the poor quality of the pitch.

The striker revealed he had adjusted his style, straightening his run-up and not planting his non-striking foot as firmly as usual.

“It wasn’t the record that was on my mind, I just felt I was going to slip,” he said. “I slipped quite a few times in the warm-up.”

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