Mature Rooney relishing World Cup

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Wayne Rooney feels a new-found maturity can only benefit his bid to help fire England to World Cup glory.

Rooney scored some 34 goals in all competitions this season as United challenged Chelsea for the Barclays Premier League title, while also reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The 24-year-old will be integral to England's hopes in South Africa and he feels he has found the right balance to channel the natural aggression which makes him such a potent attacker.

"A few years ago, I was still a very young lad playing for my country and in the Premier League," said Rooney, booked just eight times during the last campaign.

"You are excited and emotional when you make decisions, but now I have matured, on and off the pitch. With age, it has helped me and now I probably take my anger out during training the week before the game."

The former Everton trainee became England's youngest international aged 17 against Australia during 2003, before a foot injury halted his impressive form at Euro 2004 as the Three Lions bowed out in the quarter-finals.

There was also a sense of what might have been at the last World Cup, where Rooney battled back from a fractured a metatarsal, only to again see England eliminated in the last eight by Portugal - a match in which the United striker was sent off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho.

Rooney - who was married during 2008 and recently became a father - is hoping to make the headlines for all the right reasons in South Africa this summer.

"The two tournaments I have played in both ended in disappointment for me. I broke my foot and then got sent off," said the United striker, who had been struggling with ankle and groin problems during the closing stages of the season, but fully expects to be fit for England's final preparations ahead of their opening match against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.

"In the last World Cup I did not really show enough of my quality and enough excitement, which I wanted to.

"I am looking forward to this one and want to try to take my club form in with England, to help us win the World Cup."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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European News
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Ricardo Carvalho
Wayne Rooney

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