Wayne Rooney says that he does not expect to be an automatic starter for England at the World Cup, and that he has, and will continue to, work hard for his role in the team.

The Manchester United striker is widely seen as the Three Lions’ most influential attacker, but his displays in recent games have been below par, culminating in a performance against Italy that garnered much criticism.

Rooney was shifted out wide to accommodate Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, and although he provided the assist for the latter in the 2-1 defeat, many questioned his work rate in a defensive sense with Leighton Baines having been left exposed to the Azzurri’s attacking threats down the left flank.

Since the match, many have called for Rooney to be dropped for the crunch clash with Uruguay, with some even suggesting that he has grown too comfortable in his role as one of England’s starting players.

But the 28-year-old says that he does not expect to feature in every single fixture for his country, and that he has worked hard to be in the England set-up:

“I don’t expect to play,” he is quoted by the London Evening Standard. “I work hard. I want to play.”

“Why would I feel my place in the team is guaranteed? I work hard to try and get into that team. I have never said my place is guaranteed.”

Rooney went on to say that England must get a result against Uruguay on Thursday to save their World Cup dreams:

“We know if we lose the game we are more or less out, so we have to be positive and go at it in some ways the way we did [against Italy].”

The Magic Sponge