Hodgson shows faith in Rooney

Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney in light of the in-form Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, saying that "he has captained the team extremely well" and will put pressure on the current players when he is back from injury.
Roy Hodgson has backed Wayne Rooney in light of the in-form Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy, saying that "he has captained the team extremely well" and will put pressure on the current players when he is back from injury. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

England manager insists his captain will still feature prominently in his plans when he's fit

LONDON • Roy Hodgson has indicated that Wayne Rooney will continue in England's attack once he returns from injury.

This is despite Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy delivering a powerful case to change the order of merit with their goals in the 3-2 comeback win against Germany that has given the team a significant lift in advance of Euro 2016.

The England manager, once again showing his loyalty to his captain, argued that it was unfair to assume the Manchester United player might be "jettisoned in some way" when it was suggested to him that Kane and Vardy, the Premier League's two leading scorers, had made it hard for Rooney to get back into the side.

Vardy, scorer of an outstanding goal as a second-half substitute in the international friendly in Berlin on Saturday, will get the chance to lead England's attack when the Netherlands visit Wembley today.

Daniel Sturridge will also be given a place in a new-look team and Hodgson, describing Kane's performance as "excellent throughout", believes he has more competition for forward places than at any time in his four-year tenure.

That places a question over Rooney's suitability to start in this summer's competition, on the back of another erratic season for him at club level, but Hodgson made it clear that England's record scorer would still feature prominently in his plans.

"Wayne, I repeat, is our captain," Hodgson said.

"He has captained the team extremely well these past two years and taken us through a qualification campaign where we had complete success, 10 wins out of 10.

"So, it doesn't please me too much when it is suggested that the moment he gets injured and doesn't play, he deserves to be jettisoned in some way.

"When he comes back and is fit again he is going to be putting enormous pressure on these players, just as these players have been putting enormous pressure on him. That's the situation we are looking forward to."

Hodgson's plan is to field a vastly different team against the Dutch in which Danny Drinkwater will win his first cap.

Fraser Forster will start in goal now that Jack Butland has fractured his ankle while Ross Barkley, Theo Walcott and James Milner will also return to the side.

Danny Rose will continue at left-back unless Hodgson brings in a late call-up for a defence featuring John Stones, Phil Jagielka and Kyle Walker.

The Netherlands have called up Michel Vorm, the Tottenham goalkeeper, and Marco van Ginkel, the Chelsea midfielder on loan at PSV Eindhoven. They will replace Jasper Cillessen and Davy Klaassen who are injured.

The Dutch are also without Wesley Sneijder, the Galatasaray midfielder, who suffered a hamstring injury during last Friday's 3-2 defeat by France in Amsterdam.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2016, with the headline 'Hodgson shows faith in Rooney'. Print Edition | Subscribe