Football

Rooney insists he was fouled

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Wayne Rooney has assured Steven Gerrard he was fouled when earning England the controversial penalty which put them on the way to victory against Slovenia at Wembley.

Rooney has come in for heavy criticism from the Slovenian players for his part in the incident, which saw defender Bostjan Cesar limp off with an ankle injury, but Rooney told Gerrard his shirt was pulled by Cesar.

The Liverpool captain said: "Wayne seems to think his shirt was pulled. I asked him straightaway if there was any contact, and he said he got dragged back. I didn't get a good angle of it because I played the pass, but Wayne said there was contact."

Gerrard will be driven on by the hurt of England failing to make the 2008 Euro finals, after their 3-2 home defeat by Croatia, when the sides meet at Wembley in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier.

England would have two further games to ensure their place in South Africa if they suffered the worst-case scenario against Slaven Bilic's side, but Gerrard wants the job finished as quickly as possible.

He said: "We are getting into the habit of winning. Croatia will be a big test, and we have got a lot of respect for them - especially after the last time they performed at Wembley.

"But I think the players are still hurting from that result and performance, and we need to use that to motivate us to try and get the win on Wednesday. We've got to be motivated by that night.

"As a player you don't want that - to miss out on a big tournament. We have got a fantastic chance on Wednesday night to go to the World Cup.

"We don't want to go into the last two games needing results. It is very important that we get the job done straightaway.

"We are confident we can win the game on Wednesday night but we know it is going to be very difficult and we need to show Croatia a lot of respect. But, because of the rewards we can get out of Wednesday night, I am sure we will be motivated for that game."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Bostjan Cesar
Liverpool

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