Wembley Stadium

Next Game

England v Lithuania

Friday, 27 March 2015, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group E

Celtic Park

Last Game

Scotland 1 - 3 England

Tuesday, 18 November 2014, 20:00

International Match

Hodgson backing for Rooney

Roy Hodgson defended Wayne Rooney after England lost 2-1 to Italy in Manaus in their opening game of the World Cup.

Last Updated: 15/06/14 at 15:26 Post Comment

Wayne Rooney: England striker defended by Roy Hodgson

Wayne Rooney: England striker defended by Roy Hodgson

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Rooney was deployed on the left during the first half and struggled defensively before supplying the cross from which Daniel Sturridge scored the equaliser.

In the second half, Rooney was moved out to the right-hand side, with the Manchester United striker positioned out wide to accommodate Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling.

His performance against Italy led to suggestions that Rooney could be dropped for Thursday’s Group D game with Uruguay, but Hodgson sprang to the defence of the 28-year-old.

"I think it is harsh to say he didn't look comfortable on the left. I thought he did quite well and he set up our goal," said Hodgson.

"It is looking for things to say he didn't play well in that position because I think he did."

Hodgson felt his side were unlucky to lose to Mario Balotelli's winner after Sturridge had cancelled out Claudio Marchisio's opener.

He added: "It is a bit tough to accept we lost the game. Joe Hart has had a pretty quiet evening but we found ourselves having lost it.

"Even when they got back to 2-1 I thought we would get back into it. I thought that was the best I'd seen the team play.

"I suppose you have to bite the bullet today and accept we played well.

"I thought we came to terms with it much better in the second half. We are a positive team who do not sit back and we left one or two opportunities for them, but we had chances to score.

"Our final ball was disappointing and we are better than that, but we are a young team and this is a first World Cup for two thirds of the team and it is something we will improve upon going forward.

"It isn't a perfect start, but we don't live in a perfect world.

"To take them so close gives us great confidence playing against Uruguay and Costa Rica."

He added: "The fact is that if you lose the first game you probably have to win the next two.

"The teams you play against have to win as well, but there is no way you can drift into the second round.

"Italy have the best start, as have Costa Rica, and we and Uruguay are on the back foot.

"We now play Uruguay and Costa Rica, so at least our fate is in our hands."

Sturridge hobbled off in the second half, but Hodgson confirmed the striker only suffered a dead leg.

England's only injury was to physio Gary Lewin, who broke and dislocated his ankle after landing on a water bottle during the celebrations for the equaliser.

Italy, meanwhile, are now overwhelming favourites to qualify.

Coach Cesare Prandelli was happy with his team's display, but lashed out at officials for not allowing drinks breaks in the 30 degree heat.

He said: "It's truly absurd we cannot consider a time-out.

"If we want entertainment, we need to enable the players to give great performances."

Prandelli, who knocked England out of Euro 2012 with Italy, lavished praise on Hodgson's team.

"Physically, we were a bit better than England, but I think England are one of the strongest teams at the World Cup," he said.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

Footer 365

Premier League: Tony Popovic would be free to leave current club for Crystal Palace job

Western Sydney Wanderers chairman Paul Lederer will not stand in Tony Popovic's way if Crystal Palace approach him.

Sky sources: Alan Irvine will be in charge for West Brom's trip to West Ham on New Year's Day

A senior West Brom source has told Sky Sports News HQ that Alan Irvine will be in charge for the game against West Ham.

Transfer news: Fernando Torres heads back to Atletico Madrid on loan until end of next season

Fernando Torres is returning to Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of the 2015-16 season.

Mail Box

What's Happened To Everton And Martinez?

There aren't many people still talking about how the Spaniard is better than David Moyes. Plus, thoughts on Jose Mourinho's moaning and Spurs at least being very fit...

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property