Rooney ready to fire England

England striker Wayne Rooney is hoping to take the World Cup 'by the scruff of the neck' like his heroes Maradona and Pele.

Rooney will attempt to fire the Three Lions closer to the last 16 when they take on Group C rivals Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.

Last weekend's opening 1-1 draw with the United States has left England needing wins against Algeria and Slovenia to be certain of qualifying.

But rather than feel the pressure, Rooney believes he is close to peak fitness and his best form following an injury-plagued end to his domestic season with Manchester United.

"This is a great opportunity for me to prove myself at world level," said Rooney.

"I look at what Maradona and Pele did. They took the World Cup by the scruff of the neck and virtually won it single-handed.

"If I can manage half of what they achieved, it would be great.

"It was difficult for me to play as well as I wanted after I got the injury against Bayern Munich. I played when I probably shouldn't and lost my match fitness and sharpness.

"Even in Austria I had a few niggles and I held myself back in training.

"But since we've come over here I've felt sharp and been flat out.

"When I was playing well and scoring goals earlier in the season I was sharp and hungry in training. That is how I feel at the minute."

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