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Everton skipper Neville: AJ can cover Rooney absence for England

Everton captain Phil Neville sees teammate Andy Johnson as the man to succeed Manchester United's injured striker Wayne Rooney in the England attack.

"AJ never let them rest for one minute, and that's what he's all about," said Neville. "I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about him playing for England next week now.

"I'm sure he would have played in the summer if he hadn't been injured.

"He has carried on from where he left off last season - he terrifies defenders. He's not just a goalscorer; his workrate is an example to every young striker in the game. He typified our spirit and work ethic. It starts from the front - and he's up there with the best."

The 26-year-old has not scored in Everton's consecutive wins this season, but Neville believes there is more to the striker's game since he came back from ankle surgery in the summer.

"I think he has come back and improved on his link-up play, his touch, awareness and passing," said Neville.

"He has gone up a notch or two and he has brought the confidence from last season into this. All that's missing is a goal - and I'm sure that will come.

"There were a few England strikers on show, but he really stood out. There are some good England strikers about, and I don't think we should be worried.

"We have a friendly against Germany - and it's the perfect time for Bent, Johnson and Defoe to be tested."

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Tribal Football Staff

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