World Cup 2010 - Hurst: Rooney can win World Cup

Tue, 02 Mar 14:16:00 2010

World Cup winner Geoff Hurst believes Wayne Rooney can win the World Cup for England in South Africa this summer.

FOOTBALL England striker Wayne Rooney - 0

Hurst, who netted that famous hat-trick against West-Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, is the latest admirer of the Manchester United striker and it is safe to say he knows what it takes to become a world champion.

Rooney has been on fine form this season scoring 29 goals, which included coming off the bench to grab the winner in the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa.

"The way he's playing at the moment, he could win the World Cup on his own," Hurst told Eurosport.

"It's more than just a purple patch: he's developed and matured as a player in the last three or four years. He was a little over-enthusiastic in the past.

"Nowadays I don't see him diving into challenges that aren't important on the halfway line. He was so keen to win every ball in every position that he would run all over the park."

Rooney has channelled his enthusiasm into developing his overall game, which has meant that eight of his last nine goals were scored with his head. Hurst has claimed that playing in different positions throughout his career has helped Rooney.

"When Cristiano Ronaldo was at United, Rooney played out wide and did a fantastic job, professional and uncomplaining. He matured and learnt a lot playing in that position," he added.

The maturing of Rooney as a player and a goal scorer might be the making of England's World Cup pursuit. Fabio Capello is another contributing factor to Hurst's confidence ahead of this summer's tournament and Hurst does not believe the manager's nationality has any bearing on how World Cup success would be regarded.

"In an absolutely idealistic world, it would be nice for the national manager to be English. But it doesn't really matter," Hurst said.

"If we win the World Cup, nobody is going to care where the manager comes from.

"His CV is second to none as a player and a manager, and he's fantastic at his job. So he arguably deserves the chance to manage England more than some Englishmen who's CVs are not as good. "

"I think we're capable, on a one-off basis, of competing with Brazil. There has been a real transformation in everything to do with the national side, and the recent results have shown that.

"I'll be very disappointed if we don't get to the semi-final. "

Sir Geoff Hurst is president of the children's charity Sparks and will be taking part in the BG Energy Challenge between 8-10 July in Aviemore to raise money for the charity. For more information on the event and to enter a team visit

Adam Calverley / Eurosport

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