Owen Hargreaves has arrived from Germany having heard all about the phenomen
Owen Hargreaves has arrived from the Germany having heard all about the phenomenon that is Wayne Rooney. Now he knows from close quarters what the fuss is all about.
The Bayern Munich midfielder, who appeared as a sub last week against Serbia/Montenegro and can expect a place on the bench against the Slovakians on Wednesday night, says the word about 17-year-old Rooney is spreading like wild fire.
"Oh, they definitely know about him in Germany," says Hargreaves who has joined up with his England team-mates having won the double in Germany.
"When you hear about somebody doing that well at such an age there is a buzz about him everywhere.
"I thought he was great against Serbia. He was always sharp, never loses the ball, uses it well and his link up play is good.
"What makes his different is his judgement. It is amazing for someone his age to always make good decisions on the ball. He plays like a veteran in that respect!"
Although the resurgence of Phil Neville gives Hargreaves stiff competition for the defensive midfield role in the England diamond-shape, the Canadian-born star believes the new-look England tactics are good for the team and suit him.
"I think the diamond formation is the best situation for our squad. We don't have a proper left-midfielder and I think it is good we can vary it. Maybe Stevie G can go out wide left or Scholesy or Nicky Butt or myself, we are all very versatile and can fill that role. And I think that will be the future of the England midfield.
"I think my best position is central midfield, I showed that in the World Cup and the Champions League for Bayern Munich. Because I am versatile and quick and use both feet I get thrown into a lot of positions when people need help, maybe at left-back, right-back or wherever.
"I don't mind that but for the future I don't want to be a jack of all trades, but a master of one and that is my goal. I need one position not eight. The coaches decide when you are ready for that though.
"The holding role is the role I am best at, that is the one I have trained at with Bayern in the youth; I can get stuck in the tackles and lay the balls up and use my pace; but if I play on the right you just have to adjust and make the best of it."
Hargreaves admits feeling tired when he arrived last week - saying he'd "had a couple of long days and long nights" of celebration.
Life at Bayern - dubbed FC Hollywood in the German press - is never dull.
Hargreaves says the fuss amuses rather than bothers him. "It is always crazy at Bayern, the press are always there and there always stories of people fighting in training in things like that.
"I am not German though so it is the other players at Bayern in the spotlight, I am not bothered all the time so it works out well for me."
Owen Hargreaves was talking to Joe Bernstein
Owen Hargreaves - The Stat Pack
Place of Birth: Calgary, Canada
Date of Birth: 20 January 1981
Weight: 11 05
Height: 5' 11''
Club: Bayern Munich