Wayne Rooney set to be rested but backs Roy Hodgson for new contract

England coach's contract ends this summer but captain says players want him to continue in role

Mark Ogden
Saint-Etienne
Sunday 19 June 2016 22:50
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Wayne Rooney said the players are fully behind coach Roy Hodgson and want him to continue in the role (Getty)
Wayne Rooney said the players are fully behind coach Roy Hodgson and want him to continue in the role (Getty)

Roy Hodgson is set to take a major gamble on England's Euro 2016 aspirations by resting Wayne Rooney for Monday's Group B clash against Slovakia.

England must claim at least a point against the Slovaks to secure qualification for the knock-out stages.

But despite the prospect of a clash with Germany or Spain in the next round if England lose in Saint Etienne and finish third in the group, Hodgson is ready to make as many as six changes to the team which started last Thursday's 2-1 win against Wales.

And England captain Rooney is the most high profile name set to miss the Slovakia game, with Hodgson keen to refresh his squad ahead of the knock-out stages.

Jordan Henderson and Jack Wilshere will replace Rooney and Dele Alli in midfield with two new full-backs and Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge starting the game.

Despite being left out of Monday's starting line-up, Rooney has urged the Football Association to hand Hodgson a new contract as England manager after hitting back at claims by chairman Greg Dyke that only a run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals will guarantee the 68-year-old’s future in the job.

England can secure top spot in Group B, and avoid a potential quarter-final clash with hosts France in Paris, with a victory against Slovakia in Saint Etienne on Monday.

With Hodgson’s contract due to expire at the end of the tournament, England’s performance in France will prove decisive in whether the FA decide to hand him the task of guiding the country to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

But Rooney insists that Hodgson’s contribution as manager since replacing Fabio Capello just weeks before Euro 2012 should secure him a new deal, regardless of the outcome of Euro 2016.

“Of course we want him (Hodgson) to stay,” Rooney said. “That is down to his bosses but, as players, we want him to stay.

“It shouldn't go unnoticed the amount of young players he's introduced into the squad over the last four years.

“There was a big issue in terms of everyone saying we didn't have the young players coming through in England which other countries had.

“In fairness to the Premier League clubs, they've brought young players through and Roy has picked them and, in my opinion, created a very good team but also a fantastic atmosphere around the training ground.

“We now have a great base for England's future in the next six to eight years.”

Rooney’s comments on Hodgson’s future came in response to Dyke – whose term of chairman ends next month – claiming on the BBC that England must reach the semi-finals in France to banish any debate over whether to offer the former Liverpool and Fulham manager a new contract.

“Clearly if you get to semi-finals, that's success,” Dyke told BBC Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek. “If we have played well and unfortunately lost against a good team, or on penalties [in the quarter-finals], then that's a discussion that will go on."

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