England coach Fabio Capello has rated Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as one of the three best players in the world, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
"Rooney, Messi together with Cristiano Ronaldo are the young players anyone would want in their team. Wayne is extraordinary. He has talent and a desire to learn. Ferguson has taught him such a lot, I've only had to refine him," The Sun quoted Capello, as saying.
The Italian insists that he has done that by telling the 28-goal striker to concentrate on playing in the penalty area more.
"Ronaldo's departure from Manchester has made Rooney more responsible and he is much more involved now," he said.
But Rooney's sensational form has still not ended the repeated calls for his United team-mate Michael Owen to be recalled.
That clearly irritates Capello.
"There is one they want me to select, Owen, given that he is the best England goal-scorer of all time. But I cannot select him if he does not play," he said.
As Capello prepares for the World Cup finals, he believes the size of the foreign legion in English football is a problematic area.
"In the Premier League there are only 38 percent English players but 67 percent in Italy and 63 percent in Spain," he said.