Wayne Rooney does not care about the critics calling for him to be dropped by England, pointing instead to the statistics that show he can work in tandem with Daniel Sturridge.
The Manchester United forward’s place in starting line-up has come under scrutiny in recent days, with a peripheral display against Peru on Friday compounding criticism by former England internationals Gary Lineker and Paul Scholes.
The latter, a former team-mate with club and country no less, suggested Rooney may be past his peak and had already entered into decline.
The 28-year-old gave a timely response to such talk in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Miami, netting from close range to cap a fine performance in a left-wing role.
“To be honest, I’m not really interested in what anyone else has got to say,” Rooney said.
“I’m interested in what Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff here and the people around me say. People have their opinions but I don’t agree with them.
“[Scholes has] been a team-mate but he’s been away from the first team for a long time.
“I’ve seen a lot of you saying he’s coached me and been around the team but he hasn’t. I’m not really going to react. I’m not interested. He’s got his opinions so let’s leave it at that.”
While Scholes spoke of Rooney’s decline, Lineker suggested other players in England’s squad have made his position vulnerable.
The former England frontman pointed to Sturridge as the main attacking rival, but the United striker believes they can play together.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure but I think in every game we’ve played one of us has scored,” Rooney said.
“Daniel’s a fantastic player. He can score goals from anywhere like he did at Wembley [against Peru].
“We have trained a lot together so hopefully we can take that form into the tournament.”
The statistic is, in fact, that Rooney or Sturridge have scored in five of the seven matches they have played together for England.
That is still an impressive goal ratio, though, unlike the 28-year-old’s record in his previous two World Cups.
There were mitigating circumstances, with the Liverpudlian rushing back from a metatarsal injury to feature in 2006 and carrying an ankle injury into the tournament in South Africa, but the fact remains that he has yet to score on the world stage.
“I’ve said before I’ve trained hard, no injuries or recurrence of the groin strain I had at the end of the season,” Rooney said.
“I always would have needed game time such as the first game at Wembley and tonight. I felt really good, especially in the heat.
“I’m ready to play. I’m sure the manager will have a tough decision but I’m ready. I hope to play on Saturday [against Honduras]
“I can play in different positions. I’ve proved that over the years. It is down to the manager. It is not about me it’s about the team. If the manager wants to play me up top, in behind, left, right I’m happy to do that.”