English media must drop Rooney agenda – Lampard

The Manchester United star has been beset with questions over his form and fitness in recent weeks and the Chelsea legend believes the level of scrutiny is excessive

By Liam Twomey in Rio de Janeiro

The English media’s “obsession” with Wayne Rooney has become an “agenda” and must end if England are to do well at the World Cup, according to Frank Lampard.

Rooney took to Facebook to voice his frustration on Tuesday after several national newspapers reported that he had trained with England’s ‘reserves’ in a bid to recapture his form.

The reports came after the Manchester United star’s performance in a less preferred role on the left flank against Italy was widely criticised, and Lampard believes the media focus on his team-mate has gone too far.

“Unfortunately we do have a fixation with one player during every World Cup I’ve been involved in,” he told reporters when asked about the coverage of Rooney.

“It’s a bit frustrating when you’re in a team group and that happens because we’re trying to play together trying to get results. The fixation with one player can become an agenda, and we do need to drop the agenda and look at the team.

“The manager will pick the best players and whoever plays, we want to win the game.

“If you take Wayne’s name away and look at the performance and the work rate and the assist for the goal, you might look at it differently. We are dwelling on something we don’t need to look for. It’s about a team performance.”

Lampard also dismissed the notion that Rooney is more determined to make a lasting impact on this summer’s World Cup than any other major international tournament over the past decade.

“He’s been determined at every World Cup I’ve seen him play, every tournament, every game for Manchester United from afar I’ve played against him,” he insisted. “He’s a determined player.

“There’s a lot of furore built up around him but I see the same Wayne. He shows his ability in training and in games.”

Raheem Sterling also revealed he has relished the opportunity to train with Rooney every day and play with him in matches, having idolised United’s talisman before making his own breakthrough into the professional ranks.

“He’s a world-class player, someone I watched when I was young and someone I look up to, and playing with him at the training camp these last couple of weeks has been a real honour,” he insisted.

“I speak to him a lot. He just says to relax and express myself and enjoy the game, and not to think too much about what’s going on.”

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