Rooney wants ‘ruthless’ England

Wayne Rooney knows England will need to be more clinical and ruthless in front of goal if they are progress further at Euro 2016.

The Three Lions’ lack of goal-scoring ability was in full evidence in their final group game against Slovakia, where they failed to score despite having 29 shots.

That may have ultimately ended up counting in their favour as it helped set up a last 16 tie against Iceland in Nice next Monday, but Rooney knows a repeat of the same would not do them any good in the knockout stages.

“We have to be a bit more ruthless in terms of the chances we’ve had,” he told reporters at England’s Chantilly training base.

“We have to take a few more of them because as we saw in the last game if you don’t take them it could cost you a result and certainly going into the knockout stages we need to make sure we take full advantage of them.

“We feel we’re a good team playing against both teams who sit back and defend and against teams who come and have a go at us. We feel we can change our game-plan against whatever team we play.

“I think now everyone knows it’s the business end of the tournament and we definitely have to be more ruthless if we want to go through in games.

“We’ve dominated games and we haven’t looked like losing so that is a positive sign for us but we have to make sure we have to take those chances. If we can get a goal early on against Iceland they will have to come at us and that will suit us as well.

“We’re confident. We believe we can go to the end in this competition and whether that’s playing teams like France, Spain or Germany, we feel if we play our best we can give anyone a game and we can win.”

Asked to comment on Wales, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland all making it through the group stage as well, Rooney said it didn’t really matter much to him.

“I think for us we are happy that England are through and Wales, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are our competitors so I’m not bothered if they are through or not to be honest,” he said.

The dreaded specter of penalties was also brought up, with reporters eager to know if the England camp had a plan to turn their horrible fortunes around.

England have been knocked out of five major tournaments in the last 20 years on penalties, and Rooney said they have been practising spot-kicks since arriving in France.

“We don’t know who is going to be on the pitch on Monday,” Rooney said. “So it’s difficult to know who is going to be taking penalties [if they are required]. But we practise every day in training after the session.

“We don’t practice in terms of ‘you’re number one, you’re number two’, but we practise penalties and we go through the rhythm you would in a game. Obviously it’ different with the crowd and the pressure but I think it’s important for the players to practise penalties the way they would in a game.

“The good thing about this squad is there aren’t any players who have been in a shootout for England and missed. That won’t be hanging over any player and if it goes to penalties we will give it our best and hopefully that will be good enough.”

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