Aug 13 2013
England captain Steven Gerrard says Wayne Rooney "looks good" and is ready to play a big role in Wednesday's friendly international against Scotland.
Rooney - linked with a move away from Manchester United this summer and the subject of two bids from Chelsea - has been struggling with hamstring and shoulder injuries that have ruled him out of most of his club's pre-season programme.
The striker's situation did not prevent England manager Roy Hodgson from calling him into his squad for Wednesday's contest at Wembley, and Gerrard has no doubts the United man can make an impact if given a chance.
"He's certainly not match-fit because he's not played in any friendly games throughout the summer but it's the same old Wayne Rooney in training - he looks good and he's scoring goals," Gerrard told a press conference.
"He's certainly ready to play; he's prepared really well. He needs these minutes for his own personal fitness and I'm sure he's itching to start."
Wednesday's meeting with "local rivals" Scotland comes just days before the start of the new Barclays Premier League season - and Gerrard views the contest as the perfect curtain-raiser, as well a key warm-up ahead of World Cup qualifiers with Moldova and Ukraine next month.
"It's a World Cup year and we've got four very important World Cup qualifiers not too far away," said Gerrard. "We've got a big game tomorrow against our local rivals so it's going off with a bang. All the players are excited and looking forward to an exciting year.
"We're expecting a quick start and a high-tempo game. They're going to be well up for the game. They want to beat England, we want to beat Scotland.
"We play against these guys week in, week out, so it's a good test for us. Going into the important games in a couple of weeks' time it's important we go in feeling confident and on the back of a good performance."
With Wednesday's match scheduled so close to the new season there will be concerns about players collecting injuries, but Gerrard says clubs cannot start attempting to limit the amount of time their players spend on the pitch.
"The Premier League managers have got to understand we're here representing our country, it's a big game, and we all want to play as many minutes as possible," he said.
"There'll be no holding back because it's a big game and we want to win."