USA coach Bob Bradley has dismissed claims by defender Jay DeMerit that his team will target England’s Wayne Rooney when the two countries meet on Saturday evening.
Rooney’s temperament has come under scrutiny after he was booked for dissent in England’s warm-up game against Platinum Stars on Monday and warned by referee Jeff Selogilwe that a repeat of such behaviour would see him get sent off when the tournament starts.
DeMerit suggested that USA would look to exploit Rooney’s temperament by goading the striker in Rustenburg, but Bradley was quick to deny.
“I get asked the question about Wayne Rooney all the time,” Bradley said. “I have tremendous respect for Rooney and what he brings to England in so many ways.
“His effort, his competitiveness, his movement, his influence on that team is great. But we won’t try and wind him up, no. We don’t enter into all of that sort of thing.”
Bradley expects Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan, two players who have experience of playing in England, to make an impact in Saturday’s opening game.
“Landon and Clint are both important attacking players for us and we are very lucky they have the ability to play different roles,” Bradley said. “We have seen that with Clint at Fulham and with Landon at the LA Galaxy and with Everton on loan.
“That is something that allows us to have some tactical flexibility and something we hope we can use at some stage to our advantage.”