England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has compared Wayne Rooney’s emergence at Euro 2004 with that of Pele at the 1958 World Cup.
Rooney, 18, grabbed two goals as England beat Croatia 4-2 to make the last eight of Euro 2004.
“I don’t remember anyone making such an impact on a tournament since Pele in the 1958 World Cup,” said Eriksson.
“I don’t really know what to say. He’s absolutely fantastic, not only at scoring goals but he plays football – he’s a complete footballer.”
“He deserves all the attention and all the front page headlines. I sometimes feel I shouldn’t say too much but he has been absolutely incredible.
“I don’t need to tell him how to score goals. It is better I don’t say anything, his vision is incredible, he’s ready for anything.”
Pele, widely acknowledged as the greatest footballer of all time, helped Brazil to victory at the 1958 World Cup finals as a 17-year-old.
England skipper David Beckham concurred with his coach’s assessment of Rooney.
“I think he’s probably right,” he said.
“It’s a great compliment but I think he deserves it because of how he is performing.
“If he carries on, then hopefully we’ll go a long way in this tournament.
“He’s an amazing player, he’s proving that to a lot of people over here. He doesn’t have to prove it to us because we know what a great player he is.
“He’s doing it in each game and we’re very happy to have him in our team.”
England midfielder Steven Gerrard claimed that Everton striker is currently the best player in Europe.
“On current form, he is the best player in Europe,” said the Liverpool captain.
“His performances have been really mature. He holds the ball up well, brings people into play, and now he’s getting important goals as well.
“If you look at his performances over the last three games, he has definitely helped us get to the quarter-finals and I’m sure he’ll help us progress even more.
“Everything about his game is spot-on, and he can help us win the tournament.”