Wayne Rooney disappointing in Euros, Hodgson admits
England assumed that after two-match ban he would help win the tournament. It never happened
ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that he was as disappointed as the rest of the country that Wayne Rooney bombed in Euro 2012. The Manchester United striker struggled to make an impact in either of his two tournament appearances and Hodgson believes he felt under pressure to perform having missed England's first two matches through suspension.
"I think we put a lot of expectations on Wayne," said Hodgson. "When he missed the first two games we were all believing that what we needed to do was to get to the third game and Wayne Rooney will win us the championships. That maybe was too much to ask of him."
Though Rooney scored the winner against Ukraine, he contributed little else and he was similarly ineffective when England were beaten on penalties by Italy after the quarter-final had finished goalless. "Wayne certainly tried very hard, but he didn't have his best game. I think he would admit that," said Hodgson of the Italy defeat.
But the England manager refused to make excuses for Rooney. Asked if he thought it fair Rooney had to shoulder the burden of so much expectation from fans, Hodgson replied: "We do [expect a lot] but so do other teams with their players, don't they?... I think in all top international teams, you're looking at one, two, possibly three individuals that everyone recognises as being exceptional world-class talents.
"When you get to the big stage, you're hoping those players perform and show they're world-class talents, like the Maradonas that win Argentina a World Cup with his performance."
Rooney, still only 26, will no doubt get a further chance to atone for his sub-standard performance in Euro 2012 but some of his teammates might not. England's next competitive fixture is a World Cup qualifier in Moldova on 7 September, and before that Hodgson has a friendly against Italy on 15 August in which to overhaul the Three Lions.
Asked if he intended to shake up the side, Hodgson replied: "With regards to the friendly, you'll definitely see some revolution there. It is going to be the ideal opportunity for me to look at some players who weren't with us here and maybe feel they should have been."
Among those likely to feature in Hodgson's "revolution" are Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, Tottenham defender Kyle Walker and Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge.
"Many of those players are the younger ones who we probably would have taken [to Euro 2012] for the experience had they been fit," said Hodgson. "For the qualifiers, we'll have to mix what I've seen and know of the players who were here and what I've seen from Premier League football of the other lads."
Certainly on current form, Rooney doesn't merit his place in the England side. But then nor do James Milner, Scott Parker or Ashley Young. The problem for Roy Hodgson is how to construct a new England side while ensuring they qualify for the 2014 World Cup. For should the Three Lions fail to qualify for the tournament the only revolution will be against the manager. ·