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‘We can be a very strong strike force’ – England captain Wayne Rooney hails ‘fantastic’ Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.

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Wayne Rooney believes his strike partnership with Daniel Sturridge can create some much-needed excitement at a half-full Wembley tonight, and feels the friendly against Norway gives them a vital chance to bond before facing Switzerland on Monday.

The new England captain is starting up front with Sturridge against the Norwegians at Wembley, and hopes to build on the promise they showed together at the World Cup. Their developing understanding, which led to a fine goal against Italy in June, was one of the few positives to come out of the tournament

this summer. Rooney is confident it will get even better for the European Championship qualifying campaign, which starts against the Swiss in five days’ time.

 He said “I hope we will get a partnership that teams will worry about. We showed a flash of what we could do at the World Cup and this game offers a chance to play together some more before facing Switzerland.

“We are trying to get the best out of each other, and if that clicks it will be very good for England I’m sure. Daniel is a very talented player and has been fantastic for Liverpool. He is someone I enjoy playing up front with. If we get it right then we can be a very strong strike force.”

Rooney will lead out the side for the first time since being named as permanent skipper following the retirement of Steven Gerrard. Stalwarts Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have all withdrawn from the international set-up in recent years, leaving the Manchester United striker as the veteran of the squad.

He will win his 96th cap tonight and there is a big gap to the next most experienced outfield player in Gary Cahill, who stands to play for the 28th time.

Rooney insists that will inspire him even more to lead by example during his reign, on and off the pitch. “Of course being the most experienced player now will bring more out of me. Steven and Frank were great players and ambassadors for England. It was a bit strange when we reported for duty on Sunday and they weren’t here. But times are changing, football moves on, and we have to move on quick. We have a young squad and must use it the best we can to try and be successful.

“I have watched a lot of the experienced players over the years who have retired now. There are lots of things they said that I have picked up on, but I have my own style and my own way of doing things.”

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