Hodgson in staunch defence of Rooney

LONDON • Wayne Rooney should not have had to stand alone and apologise for his late-night drinking session with wedding guests, according to Roy Hodgson.

The former England manager, giving his first print interview since losing his job in the aftermath of Euro 2016, said that he had established a culture in which group responsibility was paramount and he is disappointed that Phil Jagielka, who was also out late with Rooney, did not back the England captain.

Rooney was celebrating along with some Football Association staff after England's win over Scotland last month, and was photographed looking drunk after he gate-crashed a wedding party at the team's hotel in Watford.

"There should have been more joint responsibility," Hodgson said.

"Wayne understood it was a bad moment in time and, in an ideal world, something he shouldn't do. But if anyone was caught, we would expect all of us to come out and say, 'Yeah, look you're right.'

"I wouldn't have said it is awful, I would be saying things like, 'They had the night off, yes we imposed upon them the message not to do this but they are human beings. We'd just had a good result.'

"Have you never let your hair down, have you never done something you shouldn't do?

"I would also have expected the other guys to say, 'Hold on, don't just blame him, I was there too'."

Hodgson added that he believes Rooney still has a role to play for England under Gareth Southgate.

He said: "The question these days for the coach is: Is his role as one of the squad with his experience, knowledge, the fact he's a good guy and gets on with everybody, or is his role as one of the XI? That is up to the coach to decide.

"I don't know that you become a bad leader, a bad captain, because you get caught having a drink, because someone snapped you."

Asked if he is considering a return to management, the 69-year-old replied that he will bide his time before taking up his next managerial assignment.

"I'm not thrusting myself forward for every job that comes up, I'm leading a fairly low-key life," he said.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2016, with the headline 'Hodgson in staunch defence of Rooney'. Print Edition | Subscribe