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WAYNE ROONEY revealed yesterday how he dreams of glory - the night before every game.

Rooney will meet up with the England squad next Tuesday after being given extra time off by new boss Roy Hodgson.

The Manchester United striker will, of course, miss England's opening two Euro 2012 games against France and Sweden as he serves his ban for the red card he received in the final qualifier in Montenegro last October. But when Rooney goes to bed in England's Donetsk hotel on June 18, the night before the final group game, he will prepare his usual individual pre-match routine.

He said: "Part of my preparation is I go and ask the kit man what colour we're wearing.

"So for a United game, I want to know if it's red top, white shorts, white socks or black socks.

"Then I lie in bed the night before the game and visualise myself scoring goals or doing well.

"You're trying to put yourself in that moment and trying to prepare yourself, to have a 'memory' before the game.

"I don't know if you'd call it visualising or dreaming, but I've always done it, my whole life." Rooney developed the technique himself and it helps him start to feel ready for a big game.

"When I was younger, I used to visualise myself scoring wonder goals, stuff like that," he added. "From 30 yards out, dribbling through teams.

"You used to visualise yourself doing all that, and obviously when you get older and you're playing professionally, you realise it's important for your preparation - and you need to visualise realistic things that are going to happen in a game."

Rooney will head for England's Krakow base knowing this is his chance to prove beyond doubt that he can make the impact at the highest level he promised he would when he exploded on to the scene at Euro 2004.

Since then, of course, there were the injury-blighted World Cups of 2006 and 2010 and England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008, a catalogue of anguish and early exits.

Poland and Ukraine, despite the delayed start, could be a chance to right the wrongs, end the frustrations, demonstrate once more why he is the man who has carried the burden of England expectations for nine years, which have brought club success but national disappointment. Rooney demonstrated what makes him tick as a player when he told ESPN: "When you are younger, and like me you're a bit more advanced than the kids your age, there are times on the pitch where you can see different things but they can't obviously see it.

"So then it's like you get annoyed even though it's not their fault they can't calculate.

"It's like when you play snooker - you're always thinking three or four shots down the line.

"I suppose, with football, it's like that. You've got to think three or four passes where the ball is going to come to down the line.

"And I think the very best footballers, they're able to see that before others, much quicker than a lot of other footballers. When I train I like to basically go in one position in the penalty box, and I'll have like 10 shots at the keeper.

"I'll tell him to go a bit early one time, and then you work out what decision is the best, and then if you get in that position in the game, that comes back to you.

"It's basically stored in your mind. When I was younger, I used to watch Jari Litmanen when he played for Ajax. I enjoyed how he moved and got into space.

"And he was patient. If you looked at him, he never looked like he was rushed doing anything.

"He always used to take his time. Then, when the opportunity came, he found the space to get the ball in the net. The more you do it, the more it works.

"You need to know where everyone is on the pitch. You need to see everything.

"When a cross comes into a box, there's so many things that go through your mind in a split second, like five or six different things you can do with the ball.

"You're asking yourself six questions in a split second. Maybe you've got time to bring it down on the chest and shoot or you have to head it first time.

"If the defender is there, you've obviously got to try and hit it first time. If he's further back, you've got space to take a touch. You get the decision made. Then it's obviously about the execution.

"What people don't realise is that it's obviously a physical game, but after the game, mentally, you're tired as well. Your mind has been through so much. There's so many decisions you have to make through your head.

"And then you're trying to calculate other people's decisions as well. It's probably more mentally tiring than physically."

Rooney has a chance to rest up before he steps out in the Donbass Arena. If England remain alive going into that match, he knows what will follow. p s e s Maybe it is his time.


idolised Finland skipper Litmanen when he starred for Ajax in the mid-90s * PERFECT FINNISHRooney DREAM BELIEVER Rooney has revealed he goes to bed and visualises scoring and playing well the next day
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 25, 2012
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