Football: Wayne Rooney praises debutant Andros Townsend after England's vital win

Wayne Rooney saluted Andros Townsend (above) after the Tottenham Hotspur winger made a memorable England debut in his country's crucial 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley. -- PHOTO: AP
Wayne Rooney saluted Andros Townsend (above) after the Tottenham Hotspur winger made a memorable England debut in his country's crucial 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley. -- PHOTO: AP

LONDON (AFP) - Wayne Rooney saluted Andros Townsend after the Tottenham Hotspur winger made a memorable England debut in his country's crucial 4-1 win over Montenegro at Wembley.

Townsend was surprisingly handed his first England cap by manager Roy Hodgson in the must-win Group H tie and the 22-year-old repaid his manager's faith with a scintillating display and a crucial goal on Friday.

Rooney bagged his sixth goal in five World Cup qualifiers early in the second half when Townsend's surging run and cross allowed the Manchester United striker to open the scoring after Danny Welbeck's shot was saved.

"It was some debut," he said of Townsend. "In such a high-pressure game, to perform like that was incredible."

Hodgson pinpointed Townsend's 78th-minute goal as a key turning point in the match.

"Andros's goal took the wind out of their sails and gave us time to compose ourselves again," Hodgson said. "He made a big impact. It can't be easy for a young man making his debut in a game of that nature."