Rooney will shrug off indifferent form, says Hoddle

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes Wayne Rooney can finally deliver a big performance in a World Cup – if he can relax and take the pressure off himself.

Manchester United forward Rooney failed to score for England in eight games in the past two World Cups and there have been suggestions from critics that he should not be considered an automatic starter.

But Hoddle, who was in charge of England in the 1998 World Cup, believes England's Group D opponents Italy would be delighted if Rooney was on the bench on Saturday.

"Rooney can finally establish himself as a world class performer and take Brazil by storm over the next few weeks but only if he calms down. He simply must relax," said Hoddle in a column for bookmakers William Hill. "I would tell him that in order to reach his peak on the biggest stage he needs to relax and play his normal game.

"He tries too hard to live up to his reputation as a world class player and it shows. He needs to be as natural as he can and enjoy himself because although he is a world class talent he hasn't done himself justice... yet," said the former Tottenham midfielder.

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