Alex Ferguson 'gave permission' for Wayne Rooney to play 90 minutes against Brazil
Roy Hodgson reveals conversation with Manchester United manager before deciding to play striker for entire match
Thursday 07 February 2013
England boss Roy Hodgson has revealed he spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson before deciding to let Wayne Rooney complete the full 90 minutes of yesterday's win over Brazil.
In the build-up, Hodgson had indicated he would limit the appearances of his Manchester United contingent, mindful of their crunch Champions League encounter with Real Madrid next Wednesday.
However, whilst he withdrew Tom Cleverley at half-time and Danny Welbeck just after the hour mark, Rooney and Red Devils team-mate Chris Smalling remained on the pitch throughout England's 2-1 triumph, their first over Brazil for 23 years.
Whilst Smalling has been limited to just 16 appearances since returning from a broken metatarsal in November and needs games, Rooney's importance to the United cause suggested there was an element of risk about Hodgson's strategy.
Yet it does not seem to be the case.
For Hodgson got the green light from Ferguson to keep Rooney working, in order to maximise his match fitness ahead of Wednesday's trip to the Bernabeu.
"I do try and talk to the managers, especially those who have a lot of players in the squad and make certain I let them know my thoughts on what I'd like to do," said Hodgson.
"When I spoke to Alex, he said Wayne was coming back from an injury and benefits from playing, Smalling too.
"He was more concerned about Cleverley and Welbeck who have played a lot of games and have lots more coming up, not least Real Madrid.
"I might have stolen 15 minutes for Welbeck, but I hope he would forgive me."
The fact Welbeck showed signs of a minor limp as he left Wembley was not encouraging, although with Robin van Persie in top form, Rooney maintaining his recent impressive goal return last night and Javier Hernandez excelling recently, Ferguson has more options at his disposal than Hodgson, who lost Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe to injury in the build-up.
The aftermath of wins against such glamorous opposition, albeit one whose world ranking has tumbled to a record low of 18 on the back of all their non-competitive fixtures, are not really the time to dwell on such matters.
Instead, Hodgson could revel in the performances of Jack Wilshere in particular and Theo Walcott and Joe Hart, who produced excellent displays as well, the goals of Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard and, aside from five desperate minutes, mature contributions from Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling.
But the stinging words of Luiz Felipe Scolari "we'll see what happens on June 2", when England head to Brazil for the re-match are a reminder of the bigger prize.
Before that trip to the Maracana, England have a much more important visit to Montenegro next month knowing defeat is unthinkable if the Three Lions are to remain in charge of their World Cup destiny.
"When you have got a win over Brazil in front of a crowd of almost 90,000 at Wembley as part of your 150th year celebrations, it has to be positive," said Hodgson.
"But, at the same time, we analyse performances and don't get carried away.
"When we get the players together again we will be highlighting a lot of the good things that we did, but we will also be making them aware that there are still areas of our game that need honing and tuning up."
That mad five minutes is the most obvious concern given the game could have been turned on its head due to the woeful defensive lapses.
And Hodgson is happy to admit his reconstruction job is not complete yet.
"We are not the finished article," he said.
"But it would be unfair to suggest we were after my short time in the job, and in particular, because of the behind of youth and experience we have.
"Those young players need time before they are going to be able to follow the examples of the Gerrards, the Lampards, the Rooneys and the Coles, who have been doing it for 100 games or so."
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