Antagonistic atmosphere won’t bother England, insists Rooney

ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney is adamant he and his team-mates will be fully prepared for a hostile crowd away to Ukraine in Donetsk as it is nothing they have not experienced before.

Victory over Sweden on Friday night means England need only a point against Ukraine to advance to the European Championship quarter-finals and though the atmosphere is expected to be as intense as anywhere in world football, the talented talisman is unconcerned about its ability to unsettle.

“They’ll obviously have the majority of the support and the majority of the fans in the stadium,” said Rooney. “[But] we’ve been in this situation before. We’ve been to a lot of stadiums around Europe and around the world, and we’ve had to deal with this atmosphere on a lot of occasions.”

England manager Roy Hodgson has all but confirmed Rooney’s return following the conclusion of his suspension and with Ukraine needing to win the striker’s experience will be crucial. The Manchester United man played alongside Ashley Cole, John Terry and captain Steven Gerrard when England drew 0-0 away to Turkey in 2003 to qualify for Euro 2004 and believes overcoming that challenge ideally prepares them for tomorrow.

“If you look at Turkey away nine or 10 years ago, it was as hostile as you’re going to get,” he said. “So we understand there’s going to be a big atmosphere and it’s something we have to deal with.

“We’re big enough and experienced enough to deal with it.”