Roy Hodgson left Wayne Rooney hanging after he equalled Bobby Charlton’s England scoring record in a 6-0 victory over San Marino, but predicted it would not be for long.
Rooney moved level with 1966 World Cup-winner Charlton on 49 goals by scoring an early penalty in Serravalle on Saturday, only to be taken off in the 58th minute before he was able to claim the record outright.
But with a home game against Switzerland coming up on Tuesday, followed by further qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania and friendlies against Spain and France, Hodgson knows that Rooney’s time will come.
“It would be nice if Wayne could get the 50th goal against Switzerland on Tuesday night, but one thing is for certain, he’ll get it,” the England manager said after seeing his side book their place at next year’s European Championship.
“If it’s not on Tuesday, it might be October; if it’s not October, it might be in November; and if it’s not in November, it might be 2016. But he’ll get it.
“So it’s not as if this was his last and only chance. If this was his last game for England and he needed one more goal to break the record, I promise you I wouldn’t have taken him off.”
Hodgson explained that Rooney’s withdrawal had been pre-planned and with England having qualified with three games to spare, he is hoping to be able to assess his options in their remaining matches.
“The October games could give me the opportunity for experimentation, whereas if you remember the last time we qualified for the World Cup, we had to win our last two qualifiers and then we used the games in November against very strong opposition to experiment,” Hodgson said.
“That’s the only real advantage I can see in qualifying early.”
After Rooney’s 13th-minute penalty at the Stadio Olimpico, awarded for an infringement that only Cypriot referee Leontios Trattou appeared to have seen, Cristian Brolli’s own goal doubled England’s lead.
Ironically, it was the 49th own goal scored in England’s favour, leaving ‘Own goals’ in a three-way tie with Charlton and Rooney.
Ross Barkley headed in his first England goal seconds after kick-off in the second half before two substitutes completed the job, Theo Walcott netting a brace and Harry Kane scoring with a cool chip.
Jonjo Shelvey caught the eye in a midfield holding role, three years after winning his first cap against the same opposition, and Hodgson was full of praise for the Swansea City player’s distribution.
“Shelvey in particular showed a maturity out there,” Hodgson said.
“We all know what Jonjo can do with the ball, we know the capacity he has for finding passes that other players can’t find.
“Today (Saturday) I thought he was extremely measured in his passing. There were some very good long passes, some very good visionary passes, but there were also a lot of sensible passes to keep us in the game.”
Hodgson also expressed happiness that Kane, last season’s breakthrough star, had found the net, having failed to do so in Tottenham Hotspur’s first four Premier League games this season.
“At the end of last season Harry was getting so many plaudits,” the England manager said.
“He’s already seen the downside of being a forward—the plaudits come quickly, but then so do the slaps when you have a period of three or four games without scoring. We hope this will set him up.”
San Marino manager Pierangelo Manzaroli revealed that Hodgson had apologised to him after joking that some of England’s cricket team were good enough to play against his team.
“We met yesterday in my office and he made his excuses,” said Manzaroli, whose side, ranked 193rd in the world, had gained a creditable point in their previous home game by holding Estonia to a goalless draw.
“He said it was a misunderstanding and was not meant as a lack of respect.”
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
SC takes all precautions to protect workers of 2022 WC
England could field two teams at same time, says Morgan
Secrecy and suspense over Tour de France’s fate
Silverstone holding out until end of April on British GP
16 NBA players to take part in ‘NBA 2K’ tournament
Premier League accused of ‘moral vacuum’ as clubs cut staff wages
De Bruyne vows to play two extra years after lockdown
Wimbledon cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic
Red Bull’s Marko suggested ‘corona camp’ for drivers