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Page last updated at 22:43 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 23:43 UK

Fabio Capello pleased with Wayne Rooney display

England manager Fabio Capello (left) and striker Wayne Rooney
Rooney (right) repaid Capello's faith with the first goal against Switzerland

England manager Fabio Capello praised Wayne Rooney's display in the Euro 2012 qualifying win over Switzerland.

Rooney, who is the subject of newspaper allegations about his private life, scored the first England goal in a 3-1 win in Basle on Tuesday night.

"The pressure was on Rooney but he played very well," said Capello.

"The players want to play without other things on their minds. They can focus on the game alone. He did that. He and the others were happy at the end."

Rooney scored the opener after 10 minutes, a lead that England held until half-time, with Capello describing it as the best first-half performance of his time in charge of the national side.

Adam Johnson made it 2-0 and, despite Xherdan Shaqiri pulling one back for the Swiss, Darren Bent's late effort wrapped up the win.

Rooney was taken off in the 79th minute but had done enough to justify his selection after a difficult few days off the pitch.

The News of the World and the Sunday Mirror newspapers alleged Rooney slept with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their son.

Capello played Rooney just behind striker Jermain Defoe in the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Friday and used him in the same position against Switzerland.

"He played in a position that he played against Bulgaria, in the hole," added Capello after England went top of Group C with a 100% record after two games.

"This position is good for him. It's easy for him to get into positions to shoot at goal."

Rooney's performance and attitude - following on from the striker's positive showing in the 4-0 win over Bulgaria last Friday - also received a seal of approval from captain Steven Gerrard.

"All the talk in the build-up was about Wayne but we showed a great togetherness and the early goal for Wayne did him the world of good," said Gerrard. "Over the two games he's been fantastic for us.

"People said the Swiss players might try to wind him up but I wouldn't say that was the case.

"I think they are an honest team and they have a good record, especially at home.

"People were talking about them being difficult to play against, hard to score against and hard to break down.

"But I thought we tore them apart at times and Wayne played a big part in that."


Impressive Manchester City winger Johnson, who replaced Theo Walcott after the Arsenal forward injured his ankle in the build-up to the opening goal, also praised Rooney for his professionalism.

"He's a football player and when he's out on the pitch everything gets forgotten about," stated Johnson.

"He is there to do a job for his country and he showed that by coming back and scoring a vital goal for us."

Bent, who scored England's third goal two minutes from time after replacing Defoe in attack, claimed Rooney's display in Switzerland - and the win over Bulgaria - showed that the striker is "back to his best".

"He is a fantastic player and one that England need out on the pitch firing like he was today," said Bent.

"We've come to expect that kind of performance from him so when he's not 100% people notice it.

"But tonight he was rip-roaring and the other night he played really well."

Capello was delighted with his team's performance in the first half as they dominated the Swiss and could have gone in more than one goal up at half-time.

Wayne Rooney (left) and Adam Johnson (right)
Rooney (left) congratulates Johnson (right) on his goal

"The performance of the team in the first half was one of the best of the last two years," commented the Italian.

"To play here against Switzerland is not easy. The fans, the stadium, the pitch, everything makes it very difficult to play here.

"But we played very well and with confidence and that is very important."

England eased off after the break but their showing was still in stark contrast to a string of poor performances in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Asked about the difference, Capello responded: "You know my answer. We are really good in this period because we are fresh.

"All the players can run, their minds are free. Everything they try to do comes off."

And captain Gerrard believes the two recent displays are positive early steps in the process of rebuilding confidence following the disappointing showing in South Africa.

"I think all the players realised that over in South Africa it wasn't good enough so we needed to re-group," claimed the Liverpool midfielder.

"We need to stick together and try and raise the performance levels. I think over the last two games we have certainly done that.

"I just think we've re-grouped. Everyone was hurt and disappointed by letting the nation down over in South Africa.

"We know we have to put it right but it's important not to get carried away by these two results.

"It's going to be a long time and a long process before we're really back."

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see also
Switzerland 1-3 England
07 Sep 10 |  Football
Walcott out for up to six weeks
09 Sep 10 |  Arsenal
Dawson facing spell on sidelines
04 Sep 10 |  Football
Capello hails hat-trick man Defoe
03 Sep 10 |  Football
England 4-0 Bulgaria
03 Sep 10 |  Football

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