Upson backs Rooney to score

  • By: Simon Stone, Press Association Sport Chief Football Writer, Rustenburg
  • Last Updated: June 16 2010, 6:26 BST

Matthew Upson is certain the goals will soon start flowing again for Wayne Rooney.

Wayne Rooney - struggling for international goals.

The England striker heads into Friday's Group C clash with Algeria in Cape Town having scored just once in eight internationals over the past 12 months.

His only goal came in last September's 5-1 drubbing of Croatia, and he drew another blank on Saturday as England opened their World Cup campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw against the United States.

But Upson does not believe there is any need to panic just yet.

With the talent Rooney has, the 31-year-old is adamant a return to form is just around the corner.

"As a striker, the worst thing you can do is start thinking about scoring all the time," said Upson.

"It will happen. Wayne's movement is great. He is a class player and he is totally gifted.

"He just needs to relax, play his game and the goals will come because he is top drawer."

While Rooney is certain of his place on Friday, Upson - speaking on a visit to an SOS Village in Rustenburg, where children, many of whom have been orphaned, are housed in homes that, in a couple of instances, have been built with the assistance of the Football Association and Tottenham Hotspur - knows his own position is rather more shaky.

He was first-choice replacement for Rio Ferdinand until a week before Fabio Capello announced his 30-man provisional squad, when Jamie Carragher and Ledley King - neither of whom had played a minute for Capello at the time - were drafted in.

As King is now sidelined with a groin strain and Carragher's position is under threat due to the way he was burned off by Jozy Altidore on Saturday, Upson may be due a recall.

However, the West Ham man will carry on giving his best for the team regardless of whether Capello turns to him or not.

"It is disappointing because I want to play," he said.

"It was an objective for me to be here and I achieved that. While I am here I want to play as much as I can.

"I do feel very happy with my international contribution under Fabio Capello but these are his decisions, which I am willing to accept because we are here to win something as a group."