DeMerit not scared by England
USA defender Jay DeMerit insists his team will not fear facing England in their opening World Cup match.
Last Updated: 07/06/10 12:19pm
USA defender Jay DeMerit insists his team will not be fearful of facing England in their opening World Cup match on Saturday.
The Three Lions take on the States in Rustenburg and DeMerit's side will be looking to derail Fabio Capello's hopes of making a positive start to the tournament.
Both teams are favourites to qualify from Group C, with Slovenia and Algeria providing the perceived weaker occupants of the group.
Victory could go a long way to deciding who gets the upper hand in claiming a top two spot and DeMerit believes the US will not be overawed by their much-fancied opponents.
While the Watford defender recognised the difficulty he will face in unseating Capello's charges, he vowed to make like as hard as possible for Wayne Rooney and his colleagues in the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
DeMerit told the Daily Mirror: "The advantage we have is that we have played against most of the England guys many times before, so there is no intimidation factor.
"We respect England's reputations but of course we would love to bring them down a little. The team know that you try to wind Rooney up.
"But it's not as easy as people think. He is learning to deal with it. But it's not just Rooney, we have to make everybody's day difficult.
"I'm sure I will have a week of Wayne Rooney this and that. How to stop him? Yeah, good question."
DeMerit has the benefit of facing Rooney prior to the game following his spell in the Premier League with the Hornets, where he came up against the Manchester United star.
The 30-year-old said the threat wasn't restricted to the abilities of the former Everton player, though, and insisted that any of England's front men could cause significant problems.
He added: "I have thought about playing him and I've been fortunate enough to play against Rooney a few times, so it's not a brand new thing for me.
"We know what world class players they have up front. We have to nullify it. If it is Peter Crouch everything in the air will be tough to win, so we have to get the bits and pieces.
"Rooney will be trying to get in behind and he is very sharp. If we can match him for speed and pick up things in behind us we can make it hard for them."
The States enjoyed a weekend win over Australia as the finishing touches were applied to their preparations and DeMerit is confident his team can make inroads at the competition.
"We know what they are capable of and we are prepared," he said. "There is no point coming to the World Cup unless you go in with an attitude like that."