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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Sunday, 20 June 2010 16:33 UK

World Cup 2010: Ronaldo backs Rooney to improve

Wayne Rooney
Rooney's all-round game has been well below his usual standards

Cristiano Ronaldo has defended Wayne Rooney over criticism of his World Cup displays so far and backed his former Manchester United team-mate to improve.

Rooney has been well below his best in England's disappointing draws with the USA and Algeria.

But Ronaldo said: "Wayne Rooney tried very hard, but he didn't play alone.

"When it's not coming, when you don't score a goal or play well, it is always the big players' fault. But Wayne is a great player and will do a good job."

Portugal star Ronaldo played with Rooney at United for five seasons, winning three league titles and the Champions League before leaving to join Real Madrid in 2009.


But the duo clashed at the 2006 World Cup when Rooney was shown a red card for stamping on Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho.

Ronaldo urged the referee to send off his United team-mate and was caught on camera winking at team-mates as the dismissed Rooney trudged off the field.

Ronaldo, who is also under pressure to deliver for his country after not scoring competitively since Euro 2008, admitted he had expected more from England.

"I saw England's games and I'm quite surprised they didn't win them," he said.

England must beat Slovenia on Wednesday to be certain of reaching the second round.

Portugal, who drew 0-0 with Ivory Coast in their opening match, face North Korea on Monday.

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see also
England hold clear-the-air talks
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Rooney says sorry to England fans
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
How England can qualify
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Fan breach played down by Beckham
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Gerrard calls for fighting spirit
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England display confuses Capello
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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