Hodgson ready to unleash Rooney with promise of something 'special'

England striker 'knows how to deal with the pressure' and 'lack of match fitness is not a worry'

Krakow

Roy Hodgson declared yesterday that the notion of Wayne Rooney being "a caged animal" at the European Championship was "a myth" and rejected the idea that too much expectation has been built around his entry to England's campaign.

Hodgson, who will start with the 26-year-old against Ukraine on Tuesday – probably at Andy Carroll's expense – said that Rooney had no vestiges of the toe injury he carried into the England squad and said that his lack of match fitness – he has played 36 minutes in the last month – was no worry. The England manager said the expectations on Rooney were "part of being a top, top player in an important national team. If it's Sweden then it's [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. If it's the Ukraine I'm sure it's about [Andrey] Shevchenko, for France it's [Franck] Ribery and [Samir] Nasri. If it's England it's about Rooney and [Steven] Gerrard. As a coach, you get on with it and you trust that these players have been putting up with this kind of pressure in their lives for a long, long time and know how to deal with it."

Rooney had been as good in training as Hodgson had imagined he would be, the manager said. "I am always wary of giving players epithets but I think his ability is a bit special. You are always lucky as a manager of an international team having players of his quality available to select and I have been a little unlucky I think not to have him available."

It was Danny Welbeck, likely to play in front of Rooney on Tuesday, whom Hodgson urged the nation not to build up too much, after his pirouette in Sweden 's box brought Friday evening's winner.

"He is getting games for the senior England team when he could still be playing for the Under 21s," Hodgson said. "So before we start building him up to knock him down again we should remember he has a lot of work to do and a lot of time ahead. I will use him in the same way Sir Alex has done and that is sparingly on occasions." Walcott hopes that he, rather than the more defensive James Milner, starts on Tuesday. "We can't go into games looking for draws, especially against the hosts," he said.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil