World Cup 2018: Wayne Rooney this is 'exciting' England's best chance of World Cup glory since 1966

'It’s an exciting time to be an England fan,' says Rooney who believes England can achieve World Cup glory

Jack Watson
Sunday 01 July 2018 13:03 BST
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Former England captain and all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney believes that 2018 is “could be the year” that England match the heroes of 1966 and win the World Cup.

Rooney made his last appearance in an England shirt in November 2016 and since then the team has been transformed under the renewed leadership of Gareth Southgate, who will be plotting England’s first knockout stage World Cup win since 2002.

With world champions Germany already out, as well as Portugal and Argentina also exiting the tournament, Rooney senses that this year might be England’s best chance of glory.

“There’s some big teams gone out of the World Cup,” said Rooney who recently joined Major League Soccer side DC United. “This could be the year England can go far and hopefully win it.”

Southgate’s side played some of the best football the national side has produced in recent years against Tunisia, broke records in the emphatic 6-1 win over Panama, and defeat to Belgium has granted England arguably more favourable opponents in the knockout stages.

“I think certainly the first two games were excellent,” said Rooney on Fox when asked about England’s exciting generation of players. “It’s been refreshing to see a lot of young players, a lot of energy, a lot of high pressing, and they’re scoring goals and exciting as well.

Rooney represented England in six major tournaments (Reuters)

“It’s an exciting time to be an England fan.”

Colombia stand in England’s way of a quarter-final clash with Sweden or Switzerland, and Rooney believes finishing second in the group was beneficial for England. “The game against Belgium was a bit of a game which probably no-one wanted to win.

“Losing the game might actually benefit England to go further in the World Cup, to be on the right side of the draw which I believe they are.”

England face the 2014 quarter-finalists on Tuesday, and Colombia could be without their star player James Rodriguez who has coach Jose Pekerman “extremely concerned” over swelling on his right leg.

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