Three Lions boss Hodgson admits England's over-reliance on striker Rooney



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor 



Rooney's participation at Euro 2012 has been hindered through picking up a straight red card in their final qualifier for the tournament last year 


England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that his team have suffered from the absence of suspended striker Wayne Rooney.

The Manchester United striker serves the second game of his two-match ban when England face Sweden on Friday while Hodgson describes him as "world class" adding: "We have missed him, no question. He is a world-class player and when we get him on the field we'll be a much stronger and more potent attacking force than when he's not playing. When you talk about Sweden, you talk about Zlatan Ibrahimovic and how important he is for them - how he can decide a game. Well, we have got one of those [players] in our squad. His name is Wayne Rooney."

Rooney's United and England strike team-mate Danny Welbeck led the line against France despite being iscolated for much of the game and is likely to keep his place for the match against Eric Hamren's Swedish side in Kiev on Friday. But Hodgson believes the experienced Rooney has been an asset and inspiration to the squad so far at the tournament even though he has had to sit out of the action until the final Group D match against co-hosts Ukraine on 19th June.

The former Liverpool boss commented: "His training has been excellent and his attitude around the place has also been excellent. He's been very, very supportive of the younger players so he just needs now to hang on for another couple of days because his chance will come soon enough. He's desperate of course that we go far in the tournament because he wants to play in more than one game."

Hodgson, who spent twelve years managing at club level in Sweden, is expecting a big response from their national team when the sides meet, after the Swedes were beaten 2-1 by co-hosts Ukraine in their opening game.

"I always expect a response because they are a big sporting nation and their football team have done so well in so many previous tournaments," he said. "The result we wanted was a draw because that keeps things a little bit cleaner as far as we're concerned. But what we know now is that, irrespective of tomorrow's result, we are going to need a result against the Ukraine. It's really bought the third game into focus for everybody in the group, whereas a different result might have lessened that."

Following England's opening 1-1 draw with France the former West Brom boss described the result as a "platform" to build on saying: "We have got to constantly be trying to improve our last pass and our last movement to make certain the promise or threat becomes more tangible and leads to a goal or a very clear-cut chance."


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