WAYNE ROONEY hopes Dr Steve Peters will help him end his nightmare World Cup run.
When Rooney lit up Euro 2004 as a raw dynamic teenager, pundits lined up to hail the forward as England’s best player for decades.
Sven-Goran Eriksson even likened the Liverpudlian to Pele.
But ten years on, Rooney’s World Cup finals record reads thus: played eight, scored none.
This being a World Cup year, Rooney has been reminded of that statistic many times, and he is desperate to finally get off the mark in his third tournament.
The 28-year-old took two fitness coaches on a weeklong holiday to Portugal to make sure he would be fit for Brazil and he also plans to speak to Dr Peters in the hope that the team psychiatrist can help him deal with the pressure that comes with being England’s talisman at a World Cup.
“I’ll certainly go and speak to him and see if it can benefit me. There’s no harm in doing that,” the England striker said.
“I’ve never done something like that before but it’s interesting and if it can give you an extra couple of per cent, then it’s worth doing.
“When you’re going into a tournament, you believe you’re going to do well, so you don’t really feel that pressure, but maybe inside you are feeling it, which you don’t realise.
“After hearing what (Peters) said to us, I feel it might benefit me.”
Despite the emergence of Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, the pressure will be on Rooney more than ever in Brazil because he knows this is the last World Cup of his peak years.
And after sacrificing part of his holiday so he can be fit, Rooney admits he cannot afford to let his country down again.
“I’ve been here before and I’ve said I can deliver and it hasn’t happened,” he said.
“I want to prove myself at this level, which I haven’t been able to do before. “There will be no excuses this time if I don’t perform.
“In 2018, I’ll be a bit older then so it will be difficult to impact that the way I believe I can do.
“So this is the really last big one that I feel will probably get the best out of me.”
In fairness to Rooney, both of his previous World Cup campaigns were hindered by injury.
Despite the prayers of the nation - and the help of an oxygen tent - Rooney failed to have an impact in Germany eight years ago due to that famous fourth metatarsal.
And an ankle injury meant the United striker struggled through England’s dismal campaign in South Africa.
There was a worrying sense of deja-vu when Rooney suffered a groin injury which kept him out of United’s final three games this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim, made in his autobiography, that Rooney took longer to recover from injuries than most players was put to the striker.
“Well I’m sure he would (say that)...” said Rooney, who endured a fractious relationship with Ferguson during the Scot’s final year at Old Trafford.
“I’m really confident I’ll be in the best shape I can when the World Cup starts.
“Last week I did an hour and a half in the gym every day and then we did a lot of high-intensity running and endurance work.
“It’s something I felt I had to do because I wanted to be able to train on the first day we met up.
“That certainly helped me to do that. I could play tomorrow, no problem.”
So if all goes to plan, Rooney will arrive at a World Cup in peak mental and physical condition for the first time.
The man himself is eager to get the friendlies against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras out of the way so he can touch down in Brazil - the birthplace of former Inter Milan striker Ronaldo, who is Rooney’s idol.
“He was the best,” Rooney declares. “I was watching a documentary on him yesterday and sometimes you forget how good he was.”
Rooney’s enthusiasm has also been boosted by Roy Hodgson’s squad selection.
He is clearly looking forward to playing alongside the likes of Sterling, Sturridge and Lallana.
“The selection Roy has made is exciting,” said Rooney, one of only six England squad members to have gone to a World Cup before.