England captain Steven Gerrard on Thursday dismissed Paul Scholes’s claim that his former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney may already be past his best.
Speaking earlier this week, Scholes said that Rooney, alongside whom he played for eight seasons at Old Trafford, may be “worn out” because he has been playing professionally since the age of 16.
But ahead of England’s friendly against Peru at Wembley Stadium on Friday, Gerrard argued that Rooney’s performances over the 2013-14 campaign proved that the 28-year-old can be one of the stars of the forthcoming World Cup.
“For me, I think Paul Scholes is wrong,” Gerrard told a media briefing at the England team hotel in Watford, 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of London.
“For me he’s been Manchester United’s best player throughout (the season), in the league and in Europe. I think Wayne Rooney’s been in terrific form.
“I can only judge him and have my opinion on him on what I’ve seen. His performances in the Manchester United team have been really positive.
“He’s worked hard this week. He decided to do his own week’s training and he seems in an awfully better frame of mind going into this tournament than when he had injuries on his mind last time (2010).
“So for me, I’m excited about where Wayne Rooney’s at.” Rooney is expected to start up front alongside Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge for the game against Peru, which will be England’s last friendly game in front of their own fans before the World Cup.
Although teenage left-back Luke Shaw is doubtful due to a cold, manager Roy Hodgson will have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from.