Wayne Rooney has talked up his pre-injury form for Manchester United and England – and reckons he’s “got a few years left” at the top level.
Rooney has been out with knee ligament damage since February and had to watch Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy both score in his absence in England’s friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands.
It has increased calls for Roy Hodgson to leave Rooney on the bench at this summer’s European Championship finals, but the 30-year-old has pointed out he had scored five goals in seven Premier League games prior to suffering his injury.
“I was playing really well before that injury so it could’ve been different but that’s in the past and you have to look forward,” he told the PFA’s 4 The Player magazine.
Rooney was also England’s top goalscorer in Euro 2016 qualifying with seven goals, becoming the nation’s record international goalscorer in the process with 51.
It is a tally Rooney is confident of adding to in the coming years.
“I’ve still got a few years left, I feel,” he said.
“I’ll keep trying to, first and foremost, help the team be successful and, if I can score the goals to help achieve that, then that’ll be great.
“Over the last two years my form for England has been really good. I’ve scored a lot of goals.
“The record stood for more than 40 years, so to be the one to break it means a lot – and then for Sir Bobby [Charlton] to present me with the award as well, that makes it even more special.
“But it’s something I’m looking to expand now, I’ve got the record and I just want to carry on scoring as many goals as I can.”
Rooney burst onto the international scene at Euro 2004, scoring four goals before a metatarsal injury put paid to his – and England’s – hopes against Portugal in the quarter-finals.
The former Everton striker says his game, and temperament, has changed since his teenage years.
He said: “I think I’m a different player now to what I was then so I don’t compare myself – I’m always just thinking about what comes next and making sure I’m at my best for the summer.
“I feel I’m a lot more patient now in my play, when I was younger I could be impatient and I’d end up in positions I didn’t really need to be in.”
Rooney will be by far the most experienced player of the England squad in France, but the Three Lions skipper sees the youthfulness of the current side as a positive rather than a negative.
He added: “It’s a young team and obviously as captain you want to get a strong bond between everyone and I really feel there is that at the moment, everyone gets on really well.”
“There isn’t a massive age gap from the oldest to the youngest player. I think us and Holland were the youngest teams going through qualifying and I think that shows and helps the younger lads relax around everyone.
“There’s a lot of excitement among the players and I’m sure that will build as the tournament gets closer. I feel we’re in a good position.”