Hodgson eager for 'world class' Rooney
Roy Hodgson (pictured) says he is looking forward to having Wayne Rooney available
England boss Roy Hodgson regards himself as lucky to be able to call on the "world class" talent of Wayne Rooney.
After completing his two-match suspension by sitting out a thrilling 3-2 win over Sweden, Rooney is now available for the Euro 2012 qualification decider with co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on Tuesday.
"Wayne is a quality player. I would suggest he is world-class," he said. "I am always wary of giving players epithets but he is a bit special. You are lucky, if you are the manager of a national team, to have players of his quality available for selection."
As strikers Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck both found the net against Sweden, some wondered whether Rooney's entrance would be delayed. The 26-year-old has not been involved in a competitive game since May 13, when Manchester United had the Premier League snatched from their grasp by Manchester City.
But Hodgson wasted no time in stating Rooney would be starting. He said: "I have been a bit unlucky not to have him available. Hopefully that will make life a little bit easier going into the next game where we need another result."
The extent of Hodgson's faith in Rooney has been obvious for some time - he finished the pre-tournament friendly with Belgium wearing the captain's armband following Steven Gerrard's departure.
Some fear Rooney will be so wound up by the point he is able to play again that he will not be able to control himself and could end up getting sent off against Ukraine. That gloomy prediction ignores Rooney's record of not picking up even a booking in the Premier League this season until the penultimate game against Swansea.
"He hasn't been like a caged animal," said Hodgson. "He has just been like a very good professional. His training performances have been first-class and he has been first-class around the place in terms of encouraging all the players and backing them up. I know there is a myth but it is one I haven't seen any signs of."
When England got together for the start of their preparations ahead of a friendly in Norway which Rooney played no part in, Hodgson revealed the forward had been carrying a minor injury, which Sir Alex Ferguson had managed to keep out of the public domain.
But Hodgson said: "I am not worried about Wayne's fitness in any way. We hope having him back fresh will be a bit of a bonus. He has to get out there and perform. I have every faith that he will. The expectation is part of being a top player in an important national team."
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After the turn around from The Czechs and Greeks tonight, I'm prepared to believe anythings possible including Rooney at last replicating his Club performances for his Country.
I don't know about anyone else but my emotions have been bouncing round like a pingpong ball in a bucket ,but after watching those two teams fight through tonight I can't believe that our guys won't be able to improve as well. I just hope we get some fresh legs on to support Rooney and the others.
Some of the midfield and defence were looking absolutely knackered. There's nothing wrong with any of their committment or team spirit. What they need is to want to win more than their fear of losing, the strength to achieve it. and the focus to keep the ball. Tuesday's going to be very tense. for the fans; hopefully less so for the players.
Anthony. I agree with you the midfield looks knackered. It's partly because there is so little back up and thus rotation available. But it's more down to the lack of control of midfield. We are spending far too much of the games chasing the opposition who have the ball more than we do.
It seems the missing link is the playmaker in the mould of Samir Nasri who has been in the heart of everything for France and Bastien Schweinsteiger. Gareth Barry has his detractors, but he would surely have improved England's possession. Steven Gerrard has been poor by his standards and his best days are probably behind him.
It's a sad thing to say but the only player I can think of who may have even somewhat filled this role is Paul Scholes. Let's hope some more young players of this type emerge soon, or English football is in for a rough time in the future.
It will be Rooney and Welbeck up front on Tuesday. They play together at United and know each others play. Carrol is better than Rooney and Welbeck at one thing.......in the air. Its not enough for an international striker. Rooney and Welbecks strength, off the ball work, one-twos and understanding make it a no brainer. Not just my opinion........all the experts and professionals too.
Jayne.......club bookings dont affect international games and vice versa.
hes daft How can he play him, Roony may be a world class player here but when he goes forth into
the outside world he is rubish. the team at the moment is doing well dont spoil it.
you will break the spirit of these players.