Diego Maradona is convinced that Wayne Rooney can inspire England to World Cup success.
Maradona, who led Argentina to the title in 1986, also believes England have the best chance of any European side in next year’s tournament.
“Wayne is the English player with the most natural talent and desire in the game.
“You can’t be a saint and still be successful in football. It’s a tough, physical game and nobody gives you anything for free,” he told The Sun.
Rooney’s style of play has been compared to Maradona, although some critics fear that the Manchester United striker will not fulfil his potential until he curbs his temper.
However, Maradona believes Rooney’s temperament is one of his great strengths.
“His temperament is a positive, not a negative,” added Maradona.
“It will make him fight on the field and conquer adversity.”
Maradona sees Rooney’s England challenging Argentina at next year’s World Cup finals, although he believes that Brazil are the team to beat.
“For me, England have the best chance of all the European teams at next summer’s World Cup finals in Germany,” he continued.
“But Brazil look stronger than ever – they have fantastic forwards like Kaka, Ronaldo, Adriano and Ronaldinho and the difficulty for the coach is fitting them all in.
“Argentina also have a very talented young team. I see Lionel Messi as my natural heir in the side.
“Carlos Tevez and Hernan Crespo are also great talents and I think they could do it next year.”