World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney hits back at former Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes after criticism
Scholes suggested the striker might be 'worn out' and questioned whether manager Roy Hodgson would have the 'balls' to drop him
Wayne Rooney has hit back at Paul Scholes for his suggestion that the England striker is past his best and should no longer be considered an automatic first choice for his country.
Speaking for the first time about Scholes' outspoken column on a betting website, Rooney said his his former team-mate was out of touch with day-to-day life at United. In the aftermath of England's 2-2 draw with Ecuador, during which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a knee injury which could keep him out for two weeks, Rooney responded to Scholes' suggestion that Rooney might be "worn out" and questioned whether the England manager Roy Hodgson would have the "balls" to drop him.
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Playing on the left side of Hodgson's attacking three, Rooney scored his 39th international goal against Ecuador in only his second game since 26 April. Afterwards he addressed some of the criticism levelled at him over the last few weeks.
Asked about Scholes, Rooney said: "To be honest I'm not really interested in what anyone else has got to say. I'm interested in what Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff here and the people around me say. People have their opinions but I don't agree with them.
"He [Scholes] has been a team-mate but he's been away from the first team for a long time. I've seen a lot of you [reporters] saying he's coached me and been around the team but he hasn't. I'm not really going to react. I'm not interested. He's got his opinions so let's leave it at that."
Rooney said there were no doubts over his fitness and he was prepared to play in the left-sided position in which he was deployed for the first time under Hodgson. Rooney said: "The manager didn't have to tell me what to do. I know how to play that role. I've played it many times and I have no problem doing that. He didn't have to explain it to me."
Rooney added: "I can play in different positions. I've proved that over the years. It is down to the manager. It is not about me, it's about the team. If the manager wants to play me up top, in behind, left, right, I'm happy to do that.
"I'm pleased to score and pleased to get another 60 minutes so I was happy. I felt good but you need game time so I was delighted to get another 65 minutes under my belt and I feel better. I'm ready to play. I'm ready."
Asked whether he was prepared now to play in England's first game of the World Cup finals, against Italy on 14 June in Manaus, he insisted that was the case. "I've said before, I've trained hard, no injuries or recurrence of the groin strain I had at the end of the season. I always would have needed game time such as the first game at Wembley and tonight.
"I felt really good, especially in the heat. I'm ready to play. I'm sure the manager will have a tough decision but I'm ready."
Hodgson said that against Honduras tomorrow he will select the seven players who did not feature on the bench against Ecuador: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
He confirmed that he would also have picked Raheem Sterling but the Liverpool forward is now suspended for the final warm-up game before the trip to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.
Hodgson said: "He [Sterling] is obviously gutted because he knew he had a very strong chance of playing from the start on Saturday. I had already told him that and now he realises that chance is blown and he's got to get himself back into the frame for the game against Italy.
"We've got plenty of people who can do that and I would be disappointed if he didn't look forlorn and had come off the pitch whistling," the manager added. "That would make me ask questions of him.
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