England focus on penalty shoot-out: Rooney

Nice (France), June 24 (IANS) England star Wayne Rooney on Friday revealed that the team is intensifying penalty practice ahead of their European Championship knockout stage clash against Iceland.

The Manchester United forward said he is honing his own technique by trying to beat the goalkeeper Joe Hart after telling him where he is putting it in training.

Monday’s last-16 clash with Iceland here is the Three Lions’ first knockout match at a major tournament since Euro 2012, when they lost to Italy on penalties in the quarter-finals – their sixth defeat in seven penalty shoot-outs.

“I think now we are in the knockout stages, I’m sure we will practice a lot more (penalties) as a group rather than players going up individually – practice as a group in case it comes and we need them,” Rooney was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“It’s a nervous moment. I remember in the last Euro against Italy. As I’ve said before, I always know which way I’m going and Gianluigi Buffon was actually pointing and telling me he knows I’m going that way.”

“He was right, so then I started wondering if I should go the other way. But I ended up the going the same way but he dived the other way. Just by a goalkeeper pointing one way, it can knock you off. But you have to be confident in what you have practised.”

The country’s all-time top scorer spoke of the importance of getting into the rhythm of finding a corner and is telling England’s goalkeepers where he is placing it to make it as difficult as possible during training.

“Whatever corner I am going for I tell the goalkeeper, so that makes it harder for me,” he said.

“If he can’t save it, despite knowing which way I am going, there are no worries for me in taking them. It’s more difficult, but if he doesn’t save it, it’s fine,” Rooney concluded.

–IANS

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