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'Matured' skipper Rooney vows to curb his temper

Wayne Rooney insists the days of him losing his temper are behind him as he prepares to captain England in a competitive match for the first time.

Rooney will lead out his country in tonight's World Cup qualifier against minnows San Marino at Wembley in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard and injured Frank Lampard.

That determination and desire to win will still be evident from the Manchester United striker, but he says incidents like the abusive outburst at a TV camera after the 2010 World Cup clash with Algeria and his red card for kicking an opponent in Montenegro 12 months ago are over.

Rooney said: "I don't think I'm going to change my attitude because I'm wearing the armband. I'm quite vocal on the pitch and my determination can hopefully help the team.

"But I don't want to be making the wrong type of headlines and missing games I don't want to be missing. What happened in Montenegro was stupid. I regretted it as soon as I'd done it. It won't be happening again, I can promise.

"The thing against Algeria was partly do with looking for a way to justify my own performance. Since then, I've matured more as a player and a person.

"I have cut out a lot of the silly tackles and mistakes I made as a young player."

Rooney admits he admired former Red Devils captain Roy Keane at club level, while Gerrard has also impressed him when leading his country.

He also feels he is up to the honour bestowed upon him by manager Roy Hodgson. Rooney said: "Steven Gerrard has certainly been an inspiration in my career.

"I saw his determination as a player, growing up. I saw his passion and desire to play for Liverpool and England, and that's fantastic.

"I've captained United a few times, in Champions League and different things. I think it's a great responsibility for me to take. I feel I've matured as a player in my game. I feel I've learned the game better, and have a different style. Whatever the manager (Hodgson) asks me to do, I can do it. Hopefully I can help the players and myself."


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