Wayne Rooney: Gareth Bale is in the top five players in the world

by Tanveer Arayan

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney insists England will not focus on Gareth Bale’s threat in their fixture against Wales on Thursday in Euro 2016.

England looked to be heading for victory at the Stade Velodrome when Tottenham’s Eric Dier beat Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with a superb 25-yard free kick. But three minutes from the final whistle, Russia captain Igor Berezutski rose above the defence to send a header over goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Real Madrid forward Bale accused England of not playing with the same passion as their Welsh side and also hinted at English arrogance prior to the Group B game.

Speaking about Bale, Rooney doesn’t expect Roy Hodgson to change their tactics to counter the 26-year-old.

“I think we’ve got a lot more passion and pride about us than them. We’ll definitely show that on the day,” he said.

“There is no pressure on us. They big themselves up before they’ve done anything, so we’re going to go there and we believe we can beat them.

Rooney when asked about Bale’s comments: “That’s what he feels, I’m sure all of England’s players feel different. He’s a proud Welshman, that’s where he’s from. We are from England and we’re proud Englishmen.

“He’s a fantastic player, in the top five in the world. And he’s the biggest threat for Wales but I don’t think we’ll go out and man-mark him. I think we’ll have to play our own game,” Rooney added.

Bale scored direct from a free-kick as Wales opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Slovakia and is obviously a high threat to England in Chris Coleman’s squad. Man United were heavily linked with a move for the Welshman last summer but he was put off a move to Old Trafford due to the situation under Louis van Gaal.

Russia didn’t press much during the game and Rooney was able to enjoy himself but he’ll have to be on his toes against Wales. England weren’t bad against Russia, they made plenty of chances and Rooney had a spectacular game in midfield but they’ll have to be much more clinical if they want to come out on top.

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