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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 07:28 GMT 08:28 UK
A window on Wayne's world

By Phil McNulty
Our man with England

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney's development into a world superstar grows by the day - on and off the pitch.

Rooney was the boy in demand after scoring twice in England's 3-0 win against Switzerland in Coimbra on Thursday.

Everton's 18-year-old attended the official man-of-the-match press conference in front of Europe's media, handling the occasion with all the aplomb of his first two performances for England in Euro 2004.

He then marched briskly into the intimidating arena known as the mixed zone - where players walk a gauntlet of questions from the assembled media.

This would have been an unthinkable ordeal just a few months ago, as Everton manager David Moyes and Rooney's advisors kept a strict rein on any appearances or pronouncements in the media.

Rooney is hardly a natural performer in the manner of David Beckham, but his maturity is now being witnessed in his words instead of his actions.

David Beckham with Wayne Rooney
Rooney is learning about life in the big time from his team-mates

Gone is the nervous boy who whispered answers when he signed his first Everton contract to take him away from the 80-a-week-world he had been occupying.

And gone appear to be the shackles on Rooney as he spoke to Europe's media.

Rooney is not yet totally comfortable with the attention, but there is a growing assurance in his appearances.

It has been a remarkable few days for Rooney, who ended the season fighting relegation with Everton and began England's build-up to Euro 2004 accused by some of being overweight and out of condition.

He has since roughed up France's imperious defence before cementing his status as England's star of Euro 2004 against the Swiss.

So how does Rooney deal with the attention and the spotlight that has become more intense as the tournament has got under way?

We have got a good bunch of players, so this is no one-man team, no matter who it is
Wayne Rooney

He told BBC Sport: "There is pressure in this tournament, there is pressure on everyone playing in it.

"For me, I'm a young lad here to enjoy myself and do the best I can - and you always enjoy it when you win and score as well."

But he was also keen to play down his own role in England's win, as well as his performance against France in the intimidating atmosphere of Lisbon's Stadium of Light on Sunday.

He said: "We have got a good squad and a good bunch of players, so this is no one-man team, no matter who it is.

"It is not all on me, it is about the other players as well.

"I think the team were a bit nervous, but once we got the goal we settled down a bit, and then we got the second we were a bit more relaxed and knew we were going to win the game.

"We won 3-0 so that's good."

With that, Rooney moved on and out on to England's team bus and away - the only cloud on his night a booking for a foul on Switzerland goalkeeper Jorg Stiel.

All the signs are that Rooney will have to deal with even more attention in the months ahead, with his performances in Portugal sure to have serious offers landing on Everton's mat from the big-money players.

But for now England and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson are witnessing the development of a prodigy that will serve them well for the next generation.

Links to more England stories


Highlights: England 3-0 Switzerland

Post-match reaction from the England team and coach


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