Hodgson defends England's lacklustre Wayne Rooney
England's Wayne Rooney shouts instructions to a teammate during the international friendly soccer match between England and Peru at Wembley Stadium in London, Friday, May 30, 2014 (Photo: AP)
Saturday 31 May 2014

England manager Roy Hodgson said that he was satisfied with Wayne Rooney despite the Manchester United striker producing a subdued showing in his country's 3-0 friendly win over Peru.

Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka enabled England to sign off with victory in their final pre-World Cup game on home soil on Friday, but Rooney played a peripheral role.

The 28-year-old, who missed United's last three games of the season with a groin injury, threatened only once, with a first-half header, before being replaced by Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling in the 66th minute.

However, Hodgson said that he was encouraged by the former Everton striker's display after a month of inactivity.

"I was happy with Wayne Rooney's performance," Hodgson said.

"We think we know where he is. We think we know how his fitness is being maintained or progressing. We obviously took him off tonight (Friday). Him and (Steven) Gerrard are important members of our squad.

"We're not blessed with loads of senior players and at 3-0 it seemed to be a great opportunity to give younger ones a go.

"I don't have any fears in that respect (about Rooney's fitness). His attitude and commitment are first-class, even in a game of this nature. And he's got two more weeks to keep that going."

Hodgson saw all of his players come through Friday's game unscathed and described it as "the perfect end to a perfect two weeks".

Having previously completed a warm-weather training camp in Portugal last week, England will fly to Miami on Sunday, where they face Ecuador and Honduras in two further warm-up games.

- Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain fit -

Hodgson explained that the decision to withdraw Leighton Baines late in the game against Peru was "pure caution" after the Everton left-back felt discomfort in his calf.

He also revealed that Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are in line to start Tuesday's game against Ecuador in Miami after proving their fitness in training this week.

United defender Jones damaged his shoulder towards the end of the season, while Arsenal midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain has been working to overcome a groin problem.

"They're going to play on Tuesday," said Hodgson, who handed Everton defender John Stones his international debut against Peru.

"They could have both played tonight, but I determined that they would start the game on Tuesday and we had number of substitutes on the bench.

"We decided it would be better for them to do an extra day's training. We've got Saturday free and Sunday's a travelling day, so rather than have them with three days with no training, we chose to train them."

Peru coach Pablo Bengoechea was appointed in March after the South American side failed to qualify for the World Cup and is bidding to build a team capable of competing at next year's Copa America in Chile.

"It's the start of a new cycle," he said.

"But although it was a good start, and we can start learning about the players and the squad, it's not preparation in terms of the Copa America because this is a European side we were playing against."

On England's chances of success at the World Cup, he added: "This was a warm-up game. I guess the England manager is reasonably satisfied with their performance, but the really tough stuff is still to come."

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link:


Add Comment
Comment's Title
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.