Wayne Rooney: No guarantees Manchester United striker will start at Euro 2016, says Roy Hodgson

The England captain is not in the England squad announced on Thursday because of injury

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney does not have the security of an automatic starting berth at Euro 2016, even if he recovers from his knee injury, according to Roy Hodgson.

The England manager named his squad yesterday for the friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands, picking Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater for the first time. There were, as ever, high-profile injury absences: Rooney who has not played for five weeks as he recovers from a knee injury, and Jack Wilshere, who has not played all season.

England have suffered before from taking an unfit Rooney to a major tournament and Hodgson said he hoped to avoid the “unpleasant situation” of having to decide whether to select him if he has not fully recovered by the squad announcement deadline of 12 May. But even if Rooney does recover, Hodgson said that his 109 caps and 51 goals would not guarantee him a place in the starting XI when England play Russia in Marseille in 12 weeks’ time.

“I have never said that [Rooney] is an automatic starter,” Hodgson said at Wembley Stadium. “I have never said that anyone is. Does he have a good chance, with his track record, ability and experience? Of course he has. But that does not necessarily mean that he will be. He may not have recovered to the best of his ability. Or we might want to use different players, or to play a different way.”

Rooney’s leadership role is very important to England, even when he is injured, and he will be involved with the squad next week at St George’s Park. He is unlikely to attend the game in Germany on Easter Saturday, but plans to be at Wembley for the visit of the Netherlands the following Tuesday. “He is our captain,” Hodgson said. “He’s been very important in that job in the last few years, and we need his influence and ability on the field. But that will have to be proven on the field of play. If he is fit, he will go. But not as an automatic starter.”

Hodgson remains upbeat, though, that Rooney will recover from his knee injury which should see him return to competitive football next month. “I am confident that he will get fit,” Hodgson said. Rooney should be fit to play in France, but Jack Wilshere is a different case. Hodgson has always been an admirer of his and he spoke warmly about his recent England performances, saying he would still want to include him if he returns to fitness for Arsenal.


“He will be selected if I think he’s fully fit to go, capable from the first minute of taking part in training,” Hodgson said. In Wilshere’s absence, Hodgson has included Drinkwater as an alternative to Eric Dier in that central midfield role. “We have been impressed with the qualities he’s shown with Leicester and believe those can be transported on to an international stage,” Hodgson said.