Alan Shearer believes Wayne Rooney can finish top scorer at the World Cup if he is given the right backing by England boss Roy Hodgson.
Shearer netted 30 times in 63 matches for England and won the Golden Boot at Euro 96 where he scored five goals in five games to lead the hosts to the semi-finals.
The centre forward's place in the side had been questioned in the lead-up to the tournament however, after he had gone 12 matches and almost two years without a goal for his country.
Shearer revealed how then-England manager Terry Venables helped him rediscover his form and insists Rooney can answer his critics in similar fashion.
"Three weeks before Euro 96, Terry said to me, 'whatever happens between now and the first game against Switzerland you're going to start'," Shearer said.
"That just gave me great confidence that the manager had belief in me but he also said 'you'll start, but the rest is up to you'. I think Roy Hodgson will say the same to Rooney.
"I managed to get off to a good start, I scored in the first game and finished the tournament top-scorer - I've no doubt that Wayne can do the same."
World Cup 2014: The 10 best penalty takers
World Cup 2014: The 10 best penalty takers
1/9 Mario Balotelli - Italy
Once hailed as the man who never missed, Balotelli’s 100 per cent record from the spot was lost last season when he missed twice for AC Milan. Even so, he remains one of the best penalty takers in the world at the moment. Technically perfect and with all the arrogance and nerve to slot home even the highest pressure of kicks. He had scored his first 26 in a row as a professional, never missing for Manchester City or Inter Milan. He scored the first in Italy’s shoot-out with England in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 and has fired in from the spot in World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup since.
2/9 Steven Gerrard - England
Despite not always finding the mark in an England shirt, Gerrard has been deadly from the spot this season for Liverpool. He has scored ten spot kicks for the Reds this year, more than many other clubs combined, and will have great confidence should he be required to take one for England this summer. Gerrard has had mixed fortunes for England at major tournaments, scoring in the shootout against Italy at Euro 2012 but missing against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup. If the Liverpool captain doesn't feel up for it, he could always turn to his new club team-mate Rickie Lambert. After joining the Saints in 2009, the striker scored 34 penalties in a row, a record that few, if any, in world football can match.
3/9 Yaya Toure - Ivory Coast
Yaya Toure has been something of a dead ball master this season. His free kicks have been well publicised and praised, and rightly so, but his conversation from the penalty spot has been equally superb. He scored all six penalties handed to him for Manchester City last season, each with power and placement and the Ivory Coast can count on him should it be needed. From 12 yards or 25, Toure always looks certain to find the back of the net from a set piece.
4/9 Lionel Messi - Argentina
Argentina will be looking to Lionel Messi if they want to win the World Cup on the soil of their great rivals - and that includes when it comes to penalties. The little magician scored three during qualification and rarely misses when he takes them for Barcelona either.
5/9 Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal
Among CR7’s many, many talents is the ability to fire home a penalty as good as anyone out there. Along with his six successful spot kicks throughout Real Madrid’s season, Ronaldo also completed the scoring from 12 yards in their Champions League final victory over Atletico. He is, of course, no stranger to England fans when it comes to penalties either. He netted during the Euro 2004 quarter-final shootout between Portugal and the Three Lions and did so again two years later at the World Cup. Ronaldo needs no second invitation to get his name on the score sheet and a penalty kick is just bread and butter to him.
6/9 Robin van Persie - Netherlands
RVP may have fallen behind Wayne Rooney in the pecking order of penalty takers at Manchester United but the Dutchman hasn’t lost any of his accuracy from the spot. During his Arsenal days, Van Persie smashed home spot-kicks for fun and has done the same for his country ever since. Of his eleven goals in qualifying, two came from the spot and he slotted in another brace in the league last season. He hasn’t missed one since November, his last wayward effort being against Real Sociedad in the Champions League group stage.
7/9 Mesut Ozil - Germany
Truth be told, this could be virtually any German player really but Mesut Ozil seems to get the honour more times than his team-mates. He has missed a couple of high profile spot kicks for Arsenal this season but those will just spur him on to convert should it be needed in the World Cup. Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose would all have a good case to take a German penalty, among others of course, but Ozil has been their main man for several years now. He smashed in all three of Germany’s penalties during qualifying and will be the man with the responsibility in Brazil.
8/9 Eden Hazard - Belgium
In Belgium’s star studded line up for this World Cup, Eden Hazard is their brightest. Among his considerable attributes is his ability from the penalty spot. Last season, he slotted in four in the Premier League, Belgium’s sole spot kick in qualifying and a vital away penalty against PSG in the Champions League quarter-final which helped set up victory in the return leg. Many have tipped Belgium as their outside vote for the World Cup title and should they need a penalty shootout to secure it along the way, Hazard is as sure as anyone from 12 yards.
9/9 Franck Ribery - France
Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery will be the man handed the honours if France need the ball smashing in from 12 yards. He notched one during the qualification campaign and is among those to share the duties at his club. Having felt hard done by to be overlooked for the Ballon d'Or in January, few players will be more determined to prove their ability than the Frenchman, and one or two from the spot wouldn't do his case any harm.
Rooney's place in the England line-up is under scrutiny after an underwhelming display in Friday's friendly against Peru at Wembley.
The Manchester United striker scored seven goals during the Three Lions' qualification campaign but he is yet to find the net at a World Cup finals after drawing blanks in both 2006 and 2010.
Shearer believes Rooney should start England's Group D opener against Italy but says he has to deliver to keep his place for the game against Uruguay.
"He should start against Italy," Shearer said.
"But then it's whether he performs or not because we have got other players now who can produce moments of magic."
Shearer continued: "I don't think Wayne Rooney will want it on his record that he's been to three World Cups and not scored in any of them.
"He needs to score some goals and try to make England successful - I believe he can do it but it's up to him to go out and prove that.
"If England don't play well against Italy the manager has the right to leave anyone out."
Hodgson has lamented what he described as a national "obsession" with Rooney and said the striker only wants to be considered a "very important member of the squad".
Shearer believes Rooney can handle the extra attention but says he should be wary with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling all vying for the spotlight.
"I don't think people are obsessed with him - players can handle pressure, he's a big player and he's proved that in the past," Shearer said.
"The pressure is on him like there is any other player. He's one of the biggest names in the world so everyone wants to talk about him."
Shearer added: "We've got other guys now who can produce pieces of magic - Sturridge can score goals as he showed the other night and has been showing for Liverpool.
"Sterling can, Lallana can, Ross Barkley can, so there are other guys who can be match-winners.
"I think what everyone wants to see is these guys replicating their club form in the white shirt for England and doing it on the biggest stage."
England are hoping Rooney can form a potent partnership with Sturridge to fire the Three Lions into the latter stages of the tournament.
Sturridge, who scored 21 league goals for Liverpool this season, was on target against Peru with a sweet, long-range strike but the duo showed few moments of mutual understanding.
Shearer's partnership with Teddy Sheringham was key to England's success at Euro 96 and he believes Rooney and Sturridge can enjoy a similar connection.
"The partnerships I enjoyed with Les Ferdinand and Teddy, they just clicked and we didn't have to work on them too much," Shearer said.
"Time will tell if this one can come off, I think it can, I hope so because Sturridge is going to be the main centre forward and he can to go to this World Cup and score goals.
"He now feels part of the set-up at Liverpool and England which in turn will give him confidence that he can do it at the very highest level like a World Cup."
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