Rooney hails Capello influence
United star credits England boss for sparking goal rush
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: January 27, 2010 5:11pm
Rooney: England encouragement
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has credited England boss Fabio Capello with helping him discover a rich vein of form this season.
The England star is enjoying arguably the best campaign of his career, with his four-goal haul against Hull City on Saturday taking his season tally to 19 in 22 league games.
That is already the 24-year-old's best league tally since joining United in 2004 and he may even double the 12 league goals he managed in each of the last two seasons.
The departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has shifted more of the goal-scoring responsibility onto Rooney's shoulders and has allowed him more freedom in attack.
But the 24-year-old believes the key to his new-found form is a more ruthless streak encouraged by Italian coach Capello.
"I'm scoring more because I have changed my position," Rooney is quoted as saying in Gazzetta Dello Sport.
"I'm playing further forward and in the middle of the penalty area.
"It was Capello who suggested this to me. Now I know how to make different moves in the area.
"He has taught me so much from a tactical point of view. He has also given me a leading role with the England team."
Rooney scored 10 goals in nine internationals for England over the 2008/09 season and he has carried that form into the current campaign.
Capello took charge in January 2008 and transformed the Three Lions from a team that failed to qualify for Euro 2008 into comfortable group winners in World Cup qualifying.
While Capello is recognised as being a master tactician, Rooney also likens the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach to a strict father.
The ex-Everton forward reckons Capello has restored the national team's confidence, although he is hoping he gives United team-mate Michael Owen a recall for the World Cup.
"Capello instils fear, like a severe dad," he added. "He has explained to us how to do everything.
"He has made us more of a squad. He has worked above all on the tactics - now we can change them every match.
"We're going to South Africa convinced of our strengths. The group is not too difficult.
"I hope Owen will be there too, he deserves it."