Roy Hodgson warns Wayne Rooney: It's on field performances that count

The Manchester United striker's poor form has raised question marks over his ability to retain a starting position with England at Euro 2016

Mark Ogden
Friday 25 December 2015 21:41
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Roy Hodgson still believes Rooney will be key at Euro 2016
Roy Hodgson still believes Rooney will be key at Euro 2016

Roy Hodgson has warned Wayne Rooney that his England place depends on his work on the field, rather than contribution off it, after insisting that the Manchester United forward cannot justify his place by simply being a mentor to younger team-mates.

Rooney, who surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton to become England’s all-time leading goalscorer earlier this season, has endured a frustrating club campaign at Old Trafford, scoring just two Premier League goals ahead of the Boxing Day trip to Stoke City.

The 30-year-old’s poor form, in stark contrast to the goalscoring performances this season of Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and Tottenham forward Harry Kane, has raised question marks over his ability to retain a starting position with England at Euro 2016, despite his status as captain.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has scored two goals in the Premier League this season

And England manager Hodgson said: “The most important thing for him [Rooney], as far as I’m concerned, is that he’s got to keep playing well for Man United, and playing well for England when we have our games together and that he still leads by example on the field.”

Hodgson added, in an interview with Sky Sports News HQ: “It doesn’t matter how much good work he can do for us off the field in terms of being some sort of mentor for the players, we really need him being Wayne Rooney on the field: scoring goals, making goals and with his drive and commitment leading us forward.”

Despite his concerns over Rooney’s contribution on the pitch, Hodgson believes the United captain will be key at Euro 2016.

“I’m hoping so, absolutely,” Hodgson said. “Those that are a little bit older and have a bit more experience – and Wayne’s right at the top of that with his 100 and whatever caps – are going to be important because a lot of players going to the Euros won’t have that experience.”

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