Former England manager Glenn Hoddle backs Roy Hodgson to deal with Wayne Rooney suspension


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The Independent Football

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes current boss Roy Hodgson has had enough time to prepare for Wayne Rooney's absence from the first two matches at Euro 2012.

Manchester United striker Rooney will be missing for the matches against Ukraine and Sweden due to suspension, but Hoddle thinks a mid-tournament injury could have been much more difficult to deal with.

"Of course it is a blow but it is a much better scenario than losing Rooney four days before the game, if you were expecting him to play and he gets injured in training," he told Press Association Sport.

"Whichever manager took over (from Fabio Capello), they knew they would be playing without Rooney for the first two games. Roy will have planned diligently for how he wanted to play against France and this week is more important than the two friendlies."

Rooney's Old Trafford team-mate Danny Welbeck scored his first international goal in the 1-0 win against Belgium on Saturday and Hoddle is hoping both he and Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can provide an injection of youthful exuberance into the squad - much like a young Michael Owen did at the 1998 World Cup during Hoddle's tenure.

He said: "I think both of those are exciting young players, they are not international players yet and won't be until they have played probably 12-15 games at international level but they could be a surprise element like Michael at France '98.

"Welbeck took his chance against Belgium fantastically well and he has got to do that, we are not going to be creating chance after chance after chance."

Hoddle also feels reaching the semi-finals of the competition would have to be considered a success for new manager Roy Hodgson and his squad.

"It is going to be tough, I don't see us winning it and going all the way, I hope I'm wrong and I feel a lot of people in the nation are all the same," he said.

"I think we will get through the group, I really do. I'm expecting us to sneak through the group but I don't think we will score many goals.

"Success for me would be getting to the semi-finals with the preparation and the group of players we have got that would be great for Roy."