England manager Fabio Capello has told Wayne Rooney that he must improve his finishing if he wishes to do justice to his talent.
Rooney went more than three years without scoring for his country in a competitive fixture, between the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal and a qualifier against Estonia in October 2007, and more recently he did not score in the recent friendlies with Switzerland and France.
“I have spoken to Rooney and technically he is very strong and good,” said Capello. “What he needs to do is be more relaxed in front of goal.
“He has not got to have this obsession with scoring. It depends how relaxed and confident you are in front of goal.
“You can coach a player to be more relaxed by constant exercise in training until he is confident enough. A lot of training in front of the goal can help.
“He will improve year on year and he will score more goals. He is very young.
“It is true he is not scoring at the moment but he has chances and that is important. When a player has chances, sooner or later he is going to break the duck and start scoring and become a goalscorer.
“Will Rooney become a great goalscorer? I have seen a few players who look like they are never going to become goalscorers and then at the age of 26-27 they started scoring goals.
“You had Paolo Pulici in the 1970s, Christian Vieri and, most latterly, Hernan Crespo. He went to Italy and scored a lot of goals with Parma.”
Capello refused to rule out the possibility of Rooney captaining the national side although he conceded that the playter needed more experience before assuming leadership responsibilities.
“He is a leader, he is an example on the pitch,” he added. “Obviously he is very young so we need to give him a bit more time to get more experience and mature a bit.”
Capello confirmed that he had yet to decide who would become his captain, although the Italian showed little enthusiasm for reinstating John Terry, the skipper under Steve McClaren.
Capello denies being deterred by newspaper stories that told of the Chelsea player leaving his car in a disabled parking bay.
“It’s his life and I think he made a mistake but it’s not these things that I get angry over,” said the manager.
When asked if Terry would be given a chance as captai, Capello replied: “We’ll see.”