Can Rooney finally deliver on biggest stage?
Wayne Rooney. Pic: Reuters

Wayne Rooney will be out to break his World Cup curse in Brazil after flopping twice on the biggest stage in football.

Rooney has endured a miserable time at international tournaments since announcing his arrival on the global stage as an 18-year-old - and still an Everton player - with four goals over two 2004 European Championship matches against Switzerland and Croatia.

That brilliant burst of teenage energy, which earned Rooney his career-defining move to Manchester United, has proved something of a false dawn for the striker when it comes to strutting his stuff in an England shirt.

Since those heady days in Portugal it has been all downhill for Rooney, who has yet to score in eight matches at the World Cup.

Now England manager Roy Hodgson has called on the 28-year-old to seize the moment when England head to Brazil in June.

"Maybe once or twice in the past I think I can say without fear of contradiction that on the world stage he hasn't exploded as he has on our national stage, where we all accept him as an outstanding player," Hodgson said.

Rooney was famously sent off for stamping on Ricardo Carvalho as England went out of the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals against Portugal.

He was barely recognisable with his wretched performances in the tournament in South Africa four years later in a forgettable campaign for Fabio Capello's team.

Rooney made no secret of his dislike of England's Rustenburg training camp and he quickly labelled the secluded base 'boring'.

His volatile temperament was questioned when he turned to television cameras to criticise booing fans as he trudged off following a lacklustre 0-0 draw with Algeria.

It was a familiar tale at Euro 2012, where Rooney was suspended for the first two group matches for kicking out at a Montenegro player in the qualifiers.

And when Hodgson really needed him to deliver a masterclass in the quarter-finals against Italy, Rooney once again went missing as England bowed out on penalties.

It is the World Cup flops that have most damaged Rooney's chances of being ranked alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best of his era.

While few would dispute Rooney's prodigious gifts, as his stunning strike from the half-way line in Manchester United's win at West Ham in March underlined, he has often seemed a slightly listless figure for England.

Hodgson desperately needs Rooney to shake off that lethargy in Brazil

The West Australian

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