Nike has launched a short film which focuses on Wayne Rooney’s return to the England team facing Ukraine in Donetsk and captures the nation’s excitement at this moment in time.
One of the game’s greatest talents, a player capable of changing a match in the blink of an eye, Rooney has won trophies, collected individual awards and earned the right to call himself a United legend.
However, international success has eluded him and he has suffered some high profile defeats at major tournaments. Now, memories of those defeats are fuelling his hunger to put a once-great footballing nation back on the map.
Returning from his suspension, Rooney ready for this moment and Nike are marking this occasion with a 30 second film that shows a more mature, considered and focused Rooney channelling his past to help him produce the performances England expects.
The film uses clips of old commentary that narrate the ups and downs of his career to build the intensity as Rooney reflects on his achievements and disappointments, all the time preparing to step once again onto the international stage. His time has come, Blue Eyes is back.
The film forms part of the My Time Is Now campaign that features extensive digital, outdoor and print presence celebrating iconic global players and aspiring young footballers hungry to break into the elite game. http://go.nike.com/Rooney.
Wayne Rooney Q&A:
How does watching the likes of Welbeck and Carroll leading the line make you feel? Does it fuel your hunger in training?
I’m happy for them. I know what’s it’s like to be part of the squad as a young player and it’s a great experience and will make them better players. I am training very hard though to get back and perform for my country.
In terms of your mental preparation, is it different now compared to when you first played for England?
I am more experienced now and know much more what to expect. The hunger is always there and there’s no better feeling than wearing the shirt. I can’t wait to get out there and contribute.
Is there anything in particular you do before a big game to motivate yourself?
When you’re playing for your country and the fans’ motivation is huge and always there. It’s the biggest stage and I’m always motivated for these massive games. You just want to get out there and perform.
Does the hunger of the new players such as Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain bring a different dimension to preparation for and at this tournament?
The squad is well balanced with experience and youth. The young players bring great energy and fresh ideas. They have no fear and maybe other teams don’t know so much about them which can be an advantage. You also need experience to do well in tournaments and we have lots of that too. It’s strange but I suppose I’m one of those senior players now and I’ll be helping the young players as much as I can.
How have the highs and lows in your career helped you deal with preparation for this tournament?
It comes down to experience. You can learn more from the lows than the highs. The highs are great but the lows make you really look at things in a different way and want to improve. Every player will have both in their careers and I have, but what you get is that experience which is so important to perform at your best.
The eyes of the world will be watching your return – how does that make you feel and how do you cope with that?
I’ve worked hard and focussed and am desperate to play, obviously the penalty I’ve paid for Montenegro has come at a huge personal cost but I feel I can learn from the experience and further improve as a player because of it.
How special does it feel to pull on the England shirt?
Pulling on your country’s shirt is the greatest honour a footballer can have. It’s what I always dreamed of as a kid and I get a buzz every time. We’re looking forward as a team is to doing everything we can to perform and to make our fans happy and our country proud.
You’re well on your way to beating Sir Bobby Charlton’s international scoring record. Is this a particular goal of yours? Have you ever spoken to him about it?
I don’t really play to break personal records but of course I’m proud to have scored so many goals for my country. To be mentioned in the same list as Sir Bobby is a huge honour but I don’t talk to him about the record.
What kind of mood has the new manager created in the camp?
The Manager is so experienced and knows what he wants from the players. The atmosphere is buzzing and everybody is hungry to do well for him.
Has it made you more determined to play against Ukraine knowing that you wouldn’t be playing in the France or Sweden matches?
All I can do is focus my game for the Ukraine game. Hopefully the lads will have us in a position to qualify and then if called on I will do what I can to help us progress. I’m not an easy watcher but will be supporting the lads every step of the way and can’t wait to get my boots on.
Many people suggest playing for your country is not as important as it used to be. What do you think? What sense of pride do you get in pulling on an England shirt?
Playing for your country is the highest honour you can get as a player and it’s what every player dreams of when they start playing the game. It’s the greatest feeling to pull on the shirt. I love it every time and that will never leave me. You’re representing everybody back home and just want to do your best for them and for the team.
How have you learned to keep your emotions in check in the run-up to during Euro 2012 to try to avoid red and yellow cards?
Experience. I’m only 26 but have been playing at the highest level for almost 10 years now. That gives you experience which is so valuable and you get calmer and more considered as you get older anyway. The Montenegro mistake was one I regret and it really hurts, but It’s something I must learn from and move on. It makes me hungrier to perform and to be ready for my country when called on.
What’s your opinion on Gary Neville coaching you for England? Was his appointment a surprise to you?
Gary is strong personality and had a huge influence at United when I was playing with him. He’s great to have around the dressing room and will be a big help to the team and the younger players in particular. I wasn’t surprised at all because he’s been a great England player, he’s so experienced and has so much to pass on. He’s a real winner and will help make sure we’re all ready to perform.