LONDON • Wayne Rooney has criticised Roy Hodgson's decision to make six changes before England's final group game at the European Championship.
England had beaten Wales in their second match but struggled to a 0-0 draw with Slovakia and could only finish second in their group.
Hodgson's team then crashed out against Iceland in the last 16 in one of the worst results in the team's history.
Rooney, one of those to be rested against Slovakia, believes England were hampered by the string of changes that ultimately cost them securing top spot in the group.
"We had lost momentum from the Slovakia game and tournament football is about confidence. You get that from winning," he said.
IN CONFIDENT MOOD
We're in a very good spot now. We think we can challenge for the Premier League.
WAYNE ROONEY, Manchester United captain, throwing down the gauntlet for his team this season.
Rooney, who was introduced off the substitutes' bench, insisted he would have stuck with a winning team after the late turnaround against Wales.
"No, I wouldn't have rested six players. It's more than half the team. It was a gamble and it didn't pay off.
"When I came on against Slovakia it was difficult to change the game, impossible really. I was running around just trying to get the energy back into the team."
Rooney also said there is a sense of the "old" Manchester United around the Premier League club and the squad are confident they can compete strongly for the title.
United have already added Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to last season's side and the return of Paul Pogba appears to be a matter of time.
Rooney, the team's captain, said the feeling in the dressing room is that they have turned a corner.
"I think the players feel this is more like the old Manchester United," he said.
"It's not just the new signings, we've got Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford from last season who made such an impact.
"We're in a very good spot now. We think we can challenge for the Premier League and we want to put a marker down in the Community Shield with Leicester (on Sunday)."
Rooney is expected to contribute from a forward role this season, one more familiar to him than the midfield position he occupied for the bulk of 2015-16.
He says manager Jose Mourinho's plans should give him the freedom he enjoys and that they have led to a switch in his mentality.
"He wants us to play with a lot of freedom, a lot of rotation in the forward positions, lots of opportunities to score goals - and I think I can do that, score the goals to help us be successful," he said."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN