Roy Hodgson has warned potential Euro 2016 opponents that there is a lot more to come from England after their disappointing 0-0 draw with Slovakia.
The England boss changed six of his starting XI for the final Group B match in St Etienne and while they dictated the play for long periods, they could not produce a finish worthy of the points.
Jamie Vardy had a one-on-one chance saved and substitute Dele Alli had an effort cleared off the line, but that was scant reward for their control of possession and territory.
A point left them behind table-topping neighbours Wales in the standings and should hand them a tougher draw – starting with one of Portugal, Hungary, Iceland or Austria in the last 16.
But Hodgson was happy with much of what he saw and feels the missing ingredient – precision in front of goal – is close at hand.
“We’re not doomed yet,” he said.
“We can’t do much more, we dominated the game from start to finish, we had so many chances and one day we will put them away.
“It has been attack versus defence in all three games and I never thought I’d see England dominate three games like we have done.
“We will be criticised for not taking chances, I can’t deny that, but I think the time will come when we will take those goal chances, and some team will be on the end of that fairly soon. Soon we will make someone pay.
“But we’ll wait and see; we’re in the knockout phase which is where we wanted to be.”
6 – #ENG have made 6 changes to their starting lineup, their most at a EURO finals since beating Spain 2-1 in 1980 (also 6). Shuffle.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 20, 2016
Hodgson appeared piqued by queries over his selection, bristling at the notion that he had rolled the dice by switching more than half of his starting XI.
While Jamie Vardy and Sturridge were widely tipped to start after their game-changing efforts from the bench against Wales, the call to stand down Rooney, Dele Alli and both full-backs seemed bold.
“You’re saying that had Wayne started, he would have scored the goals the others missed from his left half (midfield) position,” he told one inquisitor.
“Wayne and Dele Alli and Harry Kane came on and created chances. The ‘six changes’ amuses me.
“We finished the game against Wales with Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge up front and people said that was positive. Now it suddenly becomes six with those two starting.”
Hodgson also defended Jack Wilshere, who took over Rooney’s playmaking role but looked decidedly off colour before being hooked in the 55th minute.
“I realise his performance hasn’t been too highly rated in the mass media. I’ve picked up on that one fairly early doors,” he said.
“I think he’s a very good footballer and will be a very important member of our troop and squad. If we can stay beyond the next round, I think you’ll be speaking of him in a different light because that’s the player he is.”