Wayne Rooney lifts lid on 2006 World Cup regrets and how he hid injury woes

Wayne Rooney has admitted that he should not have been involved in England's World Cup 2006 squad due to his fitness struggles at the time.

Much was expected of the Three Lions star following his sensational form at Euro 2004, where a then-teenage Rooney scored four times to spectacularly announce himself on the international scene.

But after suffering a foot injury in a Premier League game two months prior to the World Cup Rooney was unable to reproduce his magic in Germany, and suffered an ignominious end to the tournament when he was sent off in the quarter-final loss against Portugal for stamping of Ricardo Carvalho.

In an interview with The Times, Rooney, who now plays for Derby, said in hindsight he should have sat out of the competition altogether.

"Looking back, I should never have gone to that World Cup," he said. "In the same position again, I'd rule myself out – and that's why if the Euros had taken place this summer I'd have said to Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford that if they were struggling in any way, not to push it.

"Because it may be good for you as an individual to play in a tournament, but it may not be good for the team."

Rooney admitted that he felt under pressure to perform for his nation, and played when he never felt close to full fitness.

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