Former England captain David Beckham is backing Wayne Rooney to have a great World Cup despite Paul Scholes’ criticism of the England and Manchester United striker.
Scholes claimed Rooney is past his best and questioned if manager Roy Hodgson has the guts to drop him.
But Beckham, who saw England draw with Honduras here, said: ‘I’d always back “Wazza” because he’s a great talent and he’s a great player for England. Every time he’s stepped out in an England shirt, he always gives 110 per cent. Scholesy is a person that knows Wayne as well and has been around him for quite a few years and everyone is entitled to their opinion but not everyone is going to agree with it.
‘In the games I’ve seen him play for United, he’s been the shining light. But Scholesy’s been around him more than I have.’
Beckham agrees that Rooney will be frustrated at not having scored in eight World Cup finals games in 2006 and 2010 but he added: ‘He has always been about more than just scoring goals, he’s a goalscorer but he works hard for the team and that is what Wayne’s game has always been about. ‘If he doesn’t score goals he’s either assisting or creating something for the team and working hard for the team. I think for the opposition to see Wayne Rooney on a team sheet, that scares them.’
Beckham doesn’t know why Scholes, his previously low-profile friend from the Class of 92 at United has suddenly become so vocal, especially in the spat with Rooney. Beckham said: ‘Scholesy doesn’t say much, but when he says it, it’s always cutting, he’s got a sharp tongue.’
As well as backing Rooney, Beckham is enthused by the youngsters that manager Roy Hodgson has selected. ‘I’m really excited about England. They’ve got some really good young players in there. Roy has gone for that group, it makes it promising with the experienced players in there as well.
‘Will the young players be ready for a stage like this? Yes because they’re playing in the biggest league in the world, week in week out and so I don’t see why they will go over there and be afraid to play. They are confident performers who will not be scared.’
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling is the one out of the Hodgson youth pack to have caught Beckham’s eye, with England’s most capped outfield player saying: ‘I think he’s a great talent, he plays with the flair of a kid who goes out and just plays. The games I’ve seen him play for Liverpool and England, he’s just stepped into a role and deserves to be here.
‘(Daniel) Sturridge has had a great season. He’s a talent that can hurt people. Oxlade-Chamberlain will hopefully recover from his injury, which is looking not as bad as everyone thought at the time, because he was exceptional the other night.’ Asked about another young talent, Jack Wilshere, wearing his No 7 shirt, he joked: ‘I’d rather I had it, but to be fair I had it for a few years and Jack has done well.’
Beckham also praised captain Steven Gerrard, saying: ‘People talk about players from the Premier League being tired going into the World Cup. But Stevie’s looking as fresh as anything and he’s one of the older players.
‘He’s an exceptional player and Stevie will have the team ready for Brazil.’
Beckham, who is taking his sons to Brazil for the semi-finals and final, added. ‘Hopefully, England will still be in it.’– Daily Mail