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Wayne Rooney: England's desire burning brightly again

By Robin Scott-Elliott

There was more than an hour gone at Celtic Park, the game was happily in England's bag, and there was Wayne Rooney, a goal already to his name and the captain's armband strapped tightly around his white sleeve, harrying his Manchester United team-mate Darren Fletcher.

Rooney pursued the Scot relentlessly around the midfield and Fletcher had nowhere to go but backwards.

This was a friendly and United face Arsenal on Saturday, a key game for the side Rooney leads domestically, but still he played from first to last for England as this was the most important game of a year that will be remembered for the crushing disappointment of Brazil.

It ends though with reason for cautious optimism, believes Rooney, and with a performance that demonstrated just how much this England care about the shirt they wear.

The Scots, it is too easily assumed, always play with a passion when they pull on the dark blue but Rooney insists it should not be overlooked that England's players can be at least as passionate, and possibly even more so, about their country's cause.

"Sometimes results don't go the way we want them to," said Rooney, who famously voiced his irritation with England's fans during the 2010 World Cup.

"People see it as we don't want to play for the country, but that's far from the truth. We love coming here, we love playing for England.

It's a really proud occasion. I think (against Scotland) you've seen that, and we do it in every game.

"We play with a lot of desire. We obviously know the Scotland team play with a lot of passion and desire but there is no denying we play with as much if not more than they do.

"We are a proud team and we work hard for the strip. We wanted it, we wanted to win."

As well as Rooney it was notable how committed the likes of Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck were at Celtic Park. At times the visitors seemed more keyed up for the contest than a weary-looking Scotland.

It was a fixture Rooney revelled in and his neatly taken 45th and 46th international goals, leaving him three behind Sir Bobby Charlton, crowned one of the most convincing displays of Roy Hodgson's (pictured) erratic tenure.

England put Scotland away with an efficiency that Germany could not manage against Strachan's improving side on their home turf.

"After the World Cup we were all under pressure and (Hodgson)has done fantastic in how he is getting us to progress as a team, using all his experience," said Rooney.

"We have used a different system to previous games and he is making us do the right things at the right time in games which is certainly benefiting us as all a team.

"Since the World Cup we have been fantastic - six victories. Before the World Cup we were doing well. The World Cup was a bad experience for us all but since then we have carried on the progression and the young lads have stepped up, they've been brilliant.

"If we can keep working on what we want to do then I am sure we can get better."

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