KRAKOW — England’s unbeaten Euro 2012 squad feels more relaxed and confident under new manager Roy Hodgson because he is English and nothing gets “lost in translation”, striker Wayne Rooney said Sunday.
In his first appearance at a news conference at the England squad’s media center in Krakow, the talismanic forward confirmed he was fully fit, relieved to be available after serving a two-match ban and unfazed by facing a hostile Ukrainian crowd in Donetsk Tuesday.
“We’ve been to a lot of stadiums around the world and we’ve had to deal with a big atmosphere on a lot of occasions,” Rooney said. “I think we are big enough and experienced enough to deal with that.”
England needs a draw in its final Group D game against the co-host to be certain of reaching the quarterfinals.
“Are we feeling more relaxed than at the World Cup?” said Rooney. “Yes, I would say so... We are more relaxed. It helps all the coaching staff being English and no words are lost in translation.
“We all understand what the manager wants.”
Rooney’s comments were a reminder of the much stricter atmosphere around the England squad under former manager Fabio Capello who resigned in February.
The Italian chose a remote and spartan sports center near Rustenburg as England’s base for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and fostered a sterile mood that was partly blamed for a series of poor performances culminating in a 4-1 thrashing by Germany.
Capello, surrounded by a small phalanx of four Italian assistant coaches who also helped with translation, insisted on an arduous preparation program and intensive work during the tournament.
Rooney said Hodgson’s style was far easier for the players.
“We are having a lot more rest, more down time,” he said, adding that this allowed them to escape from the tournament and forget about football when they wanted.
England is based in one of Krakow’s most comfortable boutique hotels, just a short stroll from the ancient city center’s famous Rynek Glowny (Market Place).
“He understands what we want too,” said Rooney, who has avoided any temptation that might have led to his photograph appearing in one of London’s tabloid newspapers for non-sporting reasons.
He admitted finding watching the opening two group games against France and Sweden tough.
“It is much more difficult to watch those games than to play,” he said. “If you are sat in the stands there is nothing you can do.
“But if you are on the pitch, you can try to change the game.”
Rooney also confirmed he had worked to overcome a problem with his temperament in the last year and was relieved to have served his two-match ban. — Reuters