Wayne Rooney hopes he is ready to finally perform at his best for England after being inspired by the words of Olympic swimming legend Ian Thorpe.

The Manchester United forward is back in the England squad for Friday's 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifier against San Marino after recovering from a gashed thigh he suffered playing for his club in August.

The Wembley match also marks his first international since an uninspiring UEFA EURO 2012, for which he was initially suspended.

"I'd have liked to have played better for England," said Rooney speaking at the Football Association's new St George's Park National Football Centre.

"For whatever reasons it hasn't happened but I can hold my head up high and say I've always worked hard, given everything and I'll continue to do that. Hopefully it will come off for us one day.

"I am a confident person. Looking back at games and tournaments, and I know I can do better.

"It's great to play for your country, a great honour, I think I haven't played at my best but being honest as a team we can do better.

"I am not going to win a tournament on my own. We need the whole team. There have been times when we can do better as a team, and times where we have been unlucky. If one of those goes the other way you never know what will happen."

The training centre features photos of international legends such as Bobby Moore and the rest of England's 1966 winning FIFA World Cup side.

It is also adorned with inspirational quotes such as Australian swimmer Thorpe's, which reads: 'Losing is not coming second. It's getting out of the water knowing you could have done better.'

"I think the place is inspirational," Rooney said. "Walking round you see all the history of England and pictures up and the Ian Thorpe quote stuck in my mind - I think it's quite good.

"I always try to give everything and leave everything on the pitch. Sometimes it happens where you don't play well but you have tried.

"I always feel like I have given everything, whether I have played well or badly. I always try to come off exhausted."

Joining the team's senior ranks
Rooney, 26, also acknowledges he is now one of the senior England players having scored 29 goals in 76 appearances.

He could even lead out the side if Chelsea's Frank Lampard does not recover from a knock while regular captain Steven Gerrard is suspended.

He added: "I haven't heard anything. It's down to the manager. He hasn't said anything. If I do it will be a great honour to captain my country at Wembley, something I will be really proud of.

"I hope I can show my leadership qualities as a senior player. Especially with a lot of young players in the squad.

"I always try to speak to them and offer advice. I always remember Alex Ferguson says what a big help Eric Cantona was to all those younger players at United.

"Hopefully I can bring the best out of them and they can bring the best out of me as well."