England legend Alan Shearer has backed Wayne Rooney to be the top-scorer at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Shearer, who scored 30 times in 63 games during his international career, has tipped Rooney to shine in his third World Cup, despite the Manchester United striker never having scored in the tournament.
Rooney will be looking to prove the doubters wrong and emulate Shearer’s performance at the European Championships in 1996, where the Newcastle United hero was top-scorer.
"Three weeks before Euro 96, Terry said to me, 'whatever happens between now and the first game against Switzerland you're going to start'," Shearer is reported as saying.
“I think Roy Hodgson will say the same to Rooney.
"I managed to get off to a good start, I scored in the first game and finished the tournament top-scorer - I've no doubt that Wayne can do the same."
Rooney appeared out of sorts once again for England on Friday night when they took on Peru at Wembley, which has reignited doubts among fans regarding his international form. With the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Ricky Lambert also offering striking options, many believe Rooney should be dropped and learn that a place in the England side is not guaranteed.
But Shearer believes there is no question as to whether Rooney should start against Italy on June 14, and insists the striker will want to be rid of his poor record at World Cups.
"He should start against Italy," Shearer said.
"But then it's whether he performs or not because we have got other players now who can produce moments of magic.
"I don't think Wayne Rooney will want it on his record that he's been to three World Cups and not scored in any of them.”
There is certainly an air of ‘do or die’ for Rooney in an England shirt this summer, as he looks to diminish the reputation of poor international displays. Failure to perform in the group stage could not only see him excluded from England’s future plans, but it would very likely see them flying home before the tournament even reaches July.