Wayne Rooney has revealed the inspiration he took from Michael Owen in the 1998 World Cup.
The Manchester United striker, who is expected to partner the Real Madrid hit-man against Azerbaijan on Wednesday night, explained how he looked up to the former Liverpool goalscorer during the World Cup finals in France.
“For the 1998 World Cup, I used to watch all the games on TV at my Nan’s house and then go outside afterwards and play football in the street,” Rooney revealed.
“I used to pretend I was the England players. Now, obviously, it’s amazing to be playing with some of those same players.
“That night, I think I pretended to be Michael Owen.
“Michael is a great player and a great goalscorer. I can learn a lot from him and obviously I will do that.
“He likes to play on the shoulder and I like to drop off, so we complement each other well.
“We have already scored quite a few goals together and hopefully that will continue.
“I do feel that in a game one of the two of us is always likely to get on the scoresheet.”
The former Everton man thinks it is important for him to learn from his other England team-mates.
“I just try to learn from the senior players around me in the squad,” he added to The FA’s official website.
“There are a lot of people around who want to help me and I try to take advantage of that.
“You are always wanting to learn as a professional footballer, how people do things on and off the pitch. I know that I’ve still got a lot to learn.
“Gary and Phil Neville, for example, they do everything right. They eat all the right food and do all the right training.
“I’d probably say they are the perfect pros.”