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Wayne Rooney praised for 'focused' performance against Switzerland
Dominic Fifield at St Jakob Park - 3 years ago

Steven Gerrard praised Wayne Rooney's performance as "terrific" after the England striker recovered from a traumatic few days off the pitch to score his first international goal in a year and justify his selection in Switzerland.

The Manchester United forward opened the scoring in Basle, converting Glen Johnson's cross to register his first goal in open play for club or country since March, and later departed to a standing ovation from the travelling support. England's 3-1 win had appeared to come at a cost, though Fabio Capello moved to allay initial fears over ankle injuries sustained by Theo Walcott and Jermain Defoe. Both should be playing again within a fortnight.

It was Rooney's display, in the wake of allegations over his private life, that caught the eye. "Wayne was terrific, like he was against Bulgaria last Friday," said Gerrard. "I'm sure he'll be great for us throughout the qualification campaign. It was great for Wayne to score. All the talk beforehand had been about him so to get the goal early will have helped his performance."

• Match report: Switzerland 1-3 England • Richard Williams: Rooney has a new purpose • Paul Hayward: Why so much has changed for Capello • Dominic Fifield: Five things we learned about England • In Pictures: The best moments from the game

Capello had urged the striker to separate his personal and professional lives. "I said he'd done well in training, and I'd seen that, so it is no surprise that he played well in a competitive game," said the manager. "Players want to play without other things on their minds. They can focus on the game alone. He did that today. The pressure was really strong on him, but he played really well.

"He was really happy at the end, as were the other players in the dressing room. Switzerland, on paper, were the most difficult opponents in our group so to win here is really, really important. But the result wasn't everything. It was also about the performance of the team. That was really important."

Gerrard described the side's first‑half display as "perfect" with England gliding through dithering opponents at will, though he did offer something of a reality check to put the side's 100% start to Group G in context. "The manager said what he wanted and we got the game plan spot on," he said. "The first‑half performance was perfect. We got a bit lazy in the second half and the passing wasn't quick enough and they came into the game at certain stages. But it was never in doubt. People were talking about how good Switzerland are defensively but we just tore them apart.

"Switzerland are a physical team with big, powerful players and are a good team so we deserve credit for this result. But we're nowhere near there yet. It's going to take another two years to prove to our supporters and the rest of the world that England are back. Two good results do not make you a good team. What makes you a good team is qualifying easily out of the group and going into a big tournament and proving you can mix it with the best."

Arsenal, already reeling from Robin van Persie's ankle injury that will keep him out until mid‑October, will be relieved by Walcott's post-match assertion that the damage to his ankle will not be as serious. The winger had been carried from the turf on a stretcher and was taken to hospital for a precautionary scan which revealed no break, with the strain likely to keep him out for a fortnight at most.

"I just spoke with Theo and he tells me it's not such a big problem," said Capello. "I said: 'Two weeks?' He told me less. Defoe was a little thing." The Tottenham Hotspur forward also hurt his ankle and will undergo a scan in London today.

England will have to do without the suspended James Milner for next month's visit of Montenegro, top of the group alongside England, though Adam Johnson did enough here – with his first international goal – after replacing Walcott to suggest he can excel on the left in his club-mate's place. "Coming into the qualifying group there was a lot of pressure on us so two wins, and being top of the group, leaves us full of confidence," said Johnson. "Now we want to push on."

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(apart from his goal) I thought Rooney was a pretty poor in the game, he gave the ball away a lot, and didn't really look like himself or run the show as he likes to do.

I think Capello is trying to take the pressure off him so he starts playing again because we all know how much England needs him.

Though this weekend should be interesting, going back to Everton the scene of his badge kissing betrayal. No doubt the Everton fans have been sharpening the knives for Wayne's return.

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