Rooney ready for England game after Kate Middleton pep talk
Manchester United striker has underwhelmed for the national team, but a pep talk from the Duchess of Cambridge has him fired up
Wayne Rooney is ready to perform his best football for England, after being inspired by the words of Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe and a meeting with the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Manchester United read a Thorpe quote at the Football Association's new National Football Centre, which said: "Losing is not coming second. It's getting out of the water knowing you could have done better."
The 26-year-old forward said the words struck a chord, as he prepared to return to the England squad for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against San Marino, after recovering from a gashed thigh that he sustained in August.
Rooney and his teammates also met the Duchess of Cambridge at St George's Park National Football Centre, where they spent time chatting on the pitch about the new facility.
Tomorrow's Wembley match marks Rooney's first international game since an uninspiring Euro 2012, for which he was initially suspended. A widely reported pre-tournament holiday in Las Vegas, while he was injured, did not go down well.
Rooney was later accused by former England manager Fabio Capello of only playing his best football for United.
But while accepting his international displays have not always been his best, Rooney said it had not been for want of effort.
He said he had not seen the Capello comments, but admitted: "I can see where people are coming from. But I wasn't in Vegas going out every night drinking and partying. Obviously, I went out one night and that was seen.
"I couldn't train anyway. That is why I had the extra time off. I had to have something done to my toe. It was just a way to relax before I came into training.
"I'd have liked to have played better for England. For whatever reasons it hasn't happened but I can hold my head up high and say I've always worked hard … Hopefully it will come off for us one day. I am a confident person … and I know I can do better.
"It's great to play for your country, a great honour.
"I am not going to win a tournament on my own. We need the whole team. There have been times when we can do better as a team and times where we have been unlucky.
"If one of those goes the other way you never know what will happen."
The training centre features photos of international legends such as Bobby Moore and the rest of England's 1966 winning World Cup side. It is also adorned with inspirational quotes from sporting heroes, such as Australian swimmer Thorpe.
"I think the place is inspirational," Rooney said. "Walking round you see all the history of England and pictures up and the Ian Thorpe quote stuck in my mind - I think it's quite good.
"I always try to give everything and leave everything on the pitch. Sometimes it happens where you don't play well but you have tried.
"I always feel like I have given everything, whether I have played well or badly. I always try to come off exhausted."
Rooney, also acknowledges he is now one of the senior England players, having scored 29 goals in 76 appearances.
He could even lead out the side if Chelsea's Frank Lampard does not recover from a knock while regular captain Steven Gerrard is suspended.
He added: "I haven't heard anything. It's down to the manager. He hasn't said anything. If I do it will be a great honour to captain my country at Wembley.
"I hope I can show my leadership qualities as a senior player. Especially with a lot of young players in the squad.
"I always try to speak to them and offer advice. I always remember Alex Ferguson says what a big help Eric Cantona was to all those younger players at United.
"Hopefully I can bring the best out of them and they can bring the best out of me as well."