World Cup 2014: Wayne Rooney death stare replaced by positive outlook for the Manchester United striker

The striker is in a happy place – but still has a dig at former team-mate Paul Scholes

football correspondent

Wayne Rooney has done dozens of England press conferences over the years, and the truth is that far too many of them have been tense occasions. Times when difficult questions have had to be asked about problems on and off the pitch, and Rooney's halting delivery, combined with the suspicion that he could blow at any minute, have made them awkward occasions.

When he walked into the media centre that adjoins the Urca training ground, there were the usual list of critics to be assessed, with his former team-mate Paul Scholes top of the list. Then there was the weight of history. World Cup finals are where it tends to go wrong for Rooney and he knows better than anyone that his time to change that is running out.

But this was another Rooney, one who was reflective about past failings and eager to seize a chance that he knows may not come again. At no point did he respond to any of the spikey questions with his famous death stare, but that did not mean he was short of a spikey answer or two. Mainly for Scholes, whose suggestion that Rooney is past his best sparked a debate about the England striker.

The line that resonated the most was the one that put the nature of his relationship with Scholes into context. He said that he and Scholes had not spoken since. "He's been a great player at Man United," Rooney said, "but I've never had his phone number and he's never had mine."

As for what Scholes said: "I don't agree with it. Whether it's valid or not, you'll have to ask him." What of Scholes' view that Rooney had peaked three years ago? "I'm sure he's upset a lot of people at Man United because they see me as worthy of signing a new deal at the club, so they obviously have got different opinion to what Paul has. But you'll have to ask him.

"It was a big strange, I'll be honest, but he has his opinions and he's entitled to them. I don't agree with it, but he's probably the best player I've ever played with, so I'm not going to knock him as a player, but I don't agree with his point."

What to make of Rooney's promise to himself that he was going to enjoy this World Cup finals? It makes sense insomuch as whatever he has done in the past has simply not worked therefore he might as well try something different. He was not saying that he had given up caring, just that he was no longer prepared to be bowed down by the weight of expectation.

"The hardest thing about last time was I missed my family, and this time I've learned to deal with that. Of course I miss them, but I've learned how to deal with that. They'll be over here eventually. To be honest, it's good to get a few days' rest."

He said he had worried that he had over-thought things in the past. David Moyes famously told him at the start of last season that he had lost his aggressive edge, which struck a chord with Rooney

"He felt I had lost a bit of aggression from my game – which I was asked to do, by the way," Rooney said. "He said he wanted me to find that aggression back. I thought about it a lot. It wasn't really me [without the aggression]. Maybe there are times when you have to try to lift the crowd with a tackle, obviously not a stupid one, a run back and tackle can lift the fans and even turn a game round.

"Everything gets blown up. Before the sending off against Montenegro [in 2011] my record in terms of discipline and bookings wasn't that bad. Then it was blown up. I was asked to stop doing that. Stupid tackles. Maybe I was trying to do too much."

The last time Rooney spoke on England duty was in the Portugal training camp two weeks previously. He said then that he was prepared to speak to Dr Steve Peters the team psychiatrist.

"I've spoken to him a few times. I'll not say what was said. I think he's a great benefit for the team – if you look at the achievements in his life, it's incredible really. He can only benefit us. I found him great and easy to talk to."

It is early days yet for Rooney in Brazil, and we have been here before with him, but if his mood is anything to go by, the signs look positive.

Suggested Topics
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it