Wayne Rooney says he wants to be the next Eric Cantona – by helping to nurture the next generation of England talent.
Despite his tender years Rooney is amongst the most experienced England players with 76 caps, and with Steven Gerrard suspended, Frank Lampard struggling with injury and Ashley Cole still embroiled in a row with the FA, he could be handed the captain's armband for the game against San Marino on Friday.
The Manchester United forward has demonstrated his growing maturity by only being booked once in 2012 – although he did miss England’s first two group games of Euro 2012 for being sent off against Montengro last year.
Now Rooney says he wants to pass on his experience to the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Tom Cleverley and Jonjo Shelvey by guiding them through their international careers, just as Cantona did with the likes of England coach Gary Neville and his Manchester United colleagues at Old Trafford during the 1990's.
"There are a lot of young players in the squad and I always try to speak to them and offer advice," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"I remember Sir Alex Ferguson telling me what a big help Cantona was to all those younger players at Manchester United.
"It is something I can try do for England and hopefully help bring the best out of them, as they can bring the best out of me," he added.
Cantona established himself as a Manchester United icon during his 6-and-a-half year spell at Old Trafford, earning himself a place in the fan's hearts thanks to his goal scoring exploits and nonchalant approach to the game.
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