Onyewu ready for Rooney
USA defender Oguchi Onyewu insists he will not be pushed around by Wayne Rooney in their World Cup opener.
Last Updated: 11/06/10 11:07am
United States defender Oguchi Onyewu insists he will not be pushed around by England's Wayne Rooney in their World Cup opener on Saturday.
The towering 6ft 4in AC Milan star is recognised as one of the physically strongest players in the South Africa tournament.
And 28-year-old Onyewu, who spent six months on loan at Newcastle in 2007, claims he is not intimidated by Manchester United ace Rooney's tough reputation.
"If I am one of the strongest, I'll take that. It won't be deciding factor, but it can help," Onyewu said.
"I have played against plenty of big, strong strikers and if they want to start trying to push me around, it really isn't a problem.
"I'm up to facing England and Rooney tomorrow. I played against him when the US played England at Wembley.
"All I can remember is that he was a very good attacker who is always putting pressure on you and working very hard."
It is thought the Americans might try and provoke Rooney's unpredictable temper during the Group C opener, but centre-back Onyewu insists he has no plans to make the star striker a target.
"It is not in my game-plan to try to wind him up," he added. "He's competitive, but I respect him.
"He is not the only world-class player in the England team, so it would be wrong to focus on just one man.
"My six months at Newcastle taught me that the English game is fast and physical. It is very demanding."
Onyewu has warned England not to take the US side lightly, and believes they can give the Three Lions some tough competition on Saturday.
"England are a great team, but we also have a very good squad. We can compete against any team and get a result," he added.
"People are starting to realise that while the US may not be a world power in soccer, we can cause any team trouble on our day.
"We will be trying to win. Frustrating opponents is an element of any game, but it is not our entire game-plan."