Given that Sven-Goran Eriksson believes not even a World Cup final would make Wayne Rooney nervous, it is no wonder he is looking for the teenager to ensure England sparkle against Wales today.

Eriksson has been preparing to use a three-pronged attack against the Welsh, with Rooney at the tip of his midfield diamond and Michael Owen and Jermain Defoe ahead of him.

Not even Steve McClaren jokingly laying out the first-team training bibs in a 4-4-2 formation at Old Trafford yesterday could hide that intention.

Eriksson has seemingly once again concluded that Joe Cole is a luxury item he can't afford to gamble on, even with Steven Gerrard, Kieron Dyer and Wayne Bridge all injured.

Rooney, however, is a different commodity entirely.

Eriksson will build his team around the 18-year-old striker on his return to the England fold for the first time since he hobbled out of the European Championships.

At that point, England were 1-0 up against Portugal in their quarter-final and with every chance of reaching the last four. Without him, however, they looked desperately shorn of inspiration.

With Defoe's form demanding inclusion and Owen's experience retained, Frank Lampard has therefore been shunted out to the left, with David Beckham retained on the right and Nicky Butt asked to hold it all together.

Rooney, meanwhile, will take it all in his stride, just as he did when he made his first England start against Turkey last year, with Eriksson having noted how he plays with ''no fear".

The England coach added: ''I hope he will go on like this forever. Before his first start against Turkey, when I told him he was going to play, he just said 'okay'.

''If you're 17 and know you're going to play for England in such an important game, normally you get nervous. But he showed nothing at all. He just thought 'give me the ball'.

''He's very special in this. Some players are nervous but he seems to be extremely cool. He's that way because he's very confident.

''He knows he can handle things at this level. Even in a World Cup final? Yes, I wouldn't expect him to be nervous for any game.

''He was almost top scorer in Portugal and he had played not even three-and-a-half games, that says everything about him at this level.

''I saw his hat-trick for Manchester United in the Champions League and he was incredible. If you're an opponent, it's not easy to play against him as he can do a lot of everything.''

Even though Rooney has spent most of his career in a more typical forward role, Eriksson has no concerns about his ability to master a different tactical task.

''I haven't decided the formation yet and I wouldn't be very professional if I talked about our tactics before the game,'' he insisted.

''But Wayne Rooney can beat people, score goals and he's intelligent enough to play up front, as second striker or in the hole.''

Eriksson used similar tactics in winning the Serie A title at Lazio, with Roberto Mancini called upon to play behind two strikers.

''That worked. I think we played 17 games like that and didn't lose one and won the league. But I have lost some games like that before as well,'' he revealed.

Italy also played in a similar fashion in their 4-0 victory against Wales, with Alessandro del Piero running the game from an advanced midfield position.

Rooney will still have to be able to escape the attentions of Wales' deep-lying midfielder -- probably Mark Pembridge - while Owen and Defoe must avoid both venturing into the same territory.

Lampard will also have to work hard to provide width down the flank, giving Ashley Cole yet another left-sided partner.

At least fit-again Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, who is back after suspension, should be restored to bolster the defence in only their third game together since the 2002 World Cup.

''It's even more amazing to see the shape that Rio Ferdinand is in after being out so long,'' said Eriksson.

If England can handle Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs, as well as matching Wales' energy in midfield, there is every reason to believe that they will win. Rooney should see to that.

Meanwhile, Frank Lampard is backing England's three-pronged attack to put the frighteners on Wales.

Lampard said: ''People may criticise us for not attacking enough but those three (Rooney, Owen, Defoe) will be a massive threat to anyone with their ability and pace.

''Rooney can drop off the strikers or strikers and has that natural ability of coming and receiving the ball and playing clever balls through to people or running at them himself.

''Whether you play one up, with Wayne playing off him or two, it will be dangerous. All three have pace and ability and, when you're playing against them, you'll be worried, especially with their movement."

Lampard is aware England have to counter Wales' own potent attacking weapon in John Hartson.

He said: ''John will be a big threat. Rio Ferdinand and I know him well. He is very powerful and strong, great in the air and very good with his feet. He's scored goals wherever he has been."