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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Rooney tops Eriksson list
Wayne Rooney
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed 18-year-old striker Wayne Rooney is the most talented teenager he has worked with.

Rooney was named man-of-the-match as England beat Switzerland on Thursday and Eriksson was full of praise.

"I've had many young talents in the past - Rui Costa, Roberto Baggio, Paulo Sousa, but I think Wayne Rooney is the best," said Eriksson.

"He is something very special - I must say he has been absolutely fantastic."

He added: "I'm not surprised he's the man of the day, not only in England but in all of Europe, being an 18-year-old and playing football like he is doing and scoring goals.

"I think he'll be even better in the future. He can improve still, I'm sure about that."

His talent is unbelieveable. This kid is going to be phenomenal
Paul Gascoigne on Rooney
Eriksson revealed the youngster had been a quiet presence around the England camp and had just been getting on with his job.

"He's not making a lot of fuss or talking a lot - he just goes out and does it. He's not worried if the opposition is France, Croatia, Switzerland or Turkey," Eriksson added.

"It's like he's going out on a school pitch and saying 'give me the ball and I will enjoy myself'.

"He has his feet on the ground very, very much."

Rooney was typically understated after his awesome display against the Swiss which got England's Euro 2004 campaign back on track.

"I think we can perform a lot better than we did against the Swiss," said Rooney.

"But the good sign for us is that if you win without performing as well as you can, things can only get better.

"We were a bit nervous, but once we got the goals we settled down and after the second went in we knew we would win."

England captain David Beckham believes Rooney is growing up fast.

"Wayne showed maturity against Switzerland," he said.

"There was a spell in the first half when he was getting kicked from behind.

"After he scored, a few players went over and said 'that's the way to show your frustration - by scoring goals' and that's what he's done."

England legend Paul Gascoigne believes Rooney is on the way to becoming a truly great footballer.

"He's 18 but the talent is unbelieveable. I think this kid is going to be phenomenal," said Gascoigne.

"He doesn't get over-excited when he scores and seems to keep his feet on the floor at all times.

"He gets better with every game. If he keeps playing like this at Euro 2004 he'll get the same reception coming home that I did after Italia 90."

Links to more England stories


Highlights: England 3-0 Switzerland

Post-match reaction from the England team and coach


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