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Wayne Rooney: Coping with pressure games

“There’s just no getting away from it: I always bottle it in the big games. Please help!”
Sam Jennings, via email

Wayne Rooney says:

“When trying to cope with pressure the first thing to do is to try and blank everything else out and just play.

If you can concentrate on your own game and think about what you need to do, you won’t be thinking about the game as much.

Sometimes it’s difficult to put everything else out of your mind if it’s a massive game, but that is the best way to do it. You have to think, ‘If I play the way I can, we will win’.

The other thing to remember is that you’re part of a team and a squad. The pressure’s not just on you to win, but the whole team.

For me, there are 25 players in the squad, whether it’s with Manchester United or with England, and you know that there are plenty of players around who can win games for both teams, so I know it’s not down to me to win games.

You can’t do that on your own. It’s down to the team. It’s about sharing responsibility.

Lastly, hard work pays off. If you put the work in you should get results. Thinking like this can take the pressure off you, too. ”

For more football tips see:
Michael Ballack: Coping with pressure
Yaya Toure: Ease big game pressure
Marta: Thrive under pressure

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Leo Moynihan has been a freelance football writer and author for over 20 years. As well as contributing to FourFourTwo for all of that time, his words have also appeared in The Times, the Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, Esquire, FHM and the Radio Times. He has written a number of books on football, including ghost projects with the likes of David Beckham and Andrew Cole, while his last two books, The Three Kings and Thou Shall Not Pass have both been recognised by the Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year awards.