Wayne Rooney cannot wait for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ to begin. Although the subject of his temper was a major topic of conversation during yesterday's 3-0 win over Platinum Stars in an unofficial friendly, the England forward is focused purely on beating USA in the Group C opener in Rustenburg on Saturday.
"I just can't wait now," he said. "The sooner it comes, the better." Rooney wrapped up England's win yesterday, having already set up Joe Cole for their second.
There were a few hints at Fabio Capello's likely starting line-up at the weekend, with Emile Heskey partnering the Manchester United man in attack after the interval. Cole played on the left, while Steven Gerrard's partnership with Frank Lampard in central midfield at the start looked as though it was a fairly definitive statement on England's engine room.
At the back, Ledley King was matched up with old friend John Terry at the heart of England's defence. Given the former's relatively infrequent appearances, either on the training ground or in a match, Joe Hart's presence in goal, without having started a game for his country, was intriguing, although Robert Green was between the sticks for the Tottenham Hotspur captain's last appearance against Mexico at Wembley last month.
Not that yesterday's performance was a triumph for anyone, even if Rooney found reasons to be cheerful. "It was a good run out," he said.
"We needed to get the game in and to play 45 minutes felt good, so I was happy. We got out of it what he needed. I would have liked to have got a bit more of a game but I was happy with the 45 minutes."
Unfortunately, Rooney also picked up a booking for dissent and offered ammunition for Alexi Lalas, who has claimed that USA should attempt to wind England's star man up in the hope of distracting him from his overall objective. Yet Jermain Defoe, who scored the opener yesterday, has no intention of calling for the former Everton player to curb his volatile temper.
"If under control, I think Wayne's temper is a good thing," said the Spurs striker. "He has that fire in his belly. If you take that away from him then he won't be the same player."