Rio de Janeiro: After two forgettable experiences at previous World Cups, England talisman Wayne Rooney has vowed to enjoy himself at the 2014 tournament in Brazil regardless of the outcome.
England striker Wayne Rooney during a training session in Rio de Janeiro on Monday. Pic/AFP
Having injured himself ahead of his maiden tournament in Germany in 2006, the Manchester United striker was sent off for stamping on Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho as England went out on penalties in the quarter-finals.
In 2010 he went to South Africa on the back of the most prolific season of his career, but again failed to impress.
Ahead of England's opening Group 'D' match against Italy in Manaus on Saturday, the 28-year-old is determined to relish the experience.
"I've learnt to enjoy this one because I haven't enjoyed the last ones," Rooney told a group of journalists at England's seaside training base in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
"All of a sudden you're looking back and they've gone and I didn't enjoy it. This one, I'm going to enjoy it regardless of what happens. I'm going to make sure I take positive memories from this one."
In current colleagues such as 20-year-old Ross Barkley and 19-year-old Raheem Sterling, he sees glimpses of his own old fearlessness.
"That's the good thing about the younger lads in the squad: you can see that in them," he said.
'Lift the fans'
Rooney was one of few Manchester United players to find form during a disastrous 2013-14 season and he feels that a pre-season pep talk with former manager David Moyes helped him rediscover some of his famous fire.
"He felt I had lost a bit of aggression out of my game — which I was asked to do, by the way. He said he wanted me to find that aggression back," Rooney said of Moyes.
"I thought about it a lot. It wasn't really me. Maybe there are times when you have to try and lift the crowd with a tackle — obviously not a stupid one, but a run back and tackle can lift the fans and even turn a game round."