Hodgson impressed by Rooney's burning desire

Sunday 09 Nov 2014
"Wayne's burning to play for England", says Roy Hodgson
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Roy Hodgson says Wayne Rooney is taking on the responsibility of England captain with "enormous seriousness".

The England Manager handed the armband to Rooney at the start of this campaign, following the international retirement of Steven Gerrard in the summer.

In the first four games of the season the Manchester United striker has bagged three goals, moving him into fourth place in England’s all-time scoring charts.

England v Slovenia

European Qualifier
5pm, Saturday 15 November 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
www.TheFA.com/tickets

And Hodgson also revealed that he was impressed with Rooney when they met shortly before his appointment as Three Lions boss in May 2012.

“I made an effort to see him before I was officially appointed in that two weeks spell where I was doubling up as West Brom manager,” said Hodgson.

“I met the man who was burning to play, and that is the way he has been all along."

And as he prepares for his team’s final two games of 2014, against Slovenia and Scotland, Hodgson was full of praise for his 29-year-old skipper.

“Since he has been made captain, I think he has taken an even further step, both at Manchester United and with us," he added.

“He’s really taken on this job as captain with enormous seriousness. He’s studied and talked a lot with Steven Gerrard.

“He spends a lot of time with the younger players. And obviously with me he’s very good. If there’s anything he thinks I should be made aware of, he makes me aware of it.”

Wayne Rooney bends home his match-winning free-kick

Rooney scored the winner in Estonia last month

Hodgson has also been pleased with the Manchester United captain’s work-rate for the Three Lions.

“Every time he gets on the field, he really does work hard. 

"Even when we are not playing as well as I think we can play, it’s very rare that I can look at him and think ‘you’re not working hard enough’.

“I would defy anyone to fault his work-rate, his desire, if they watch the game carefully and study what he does.”

If Rooney features in Saturday’s European Qualifier with Slovenia at Wembley, he will become the ninth England player to reach 100 caps – and the fourth during Hodgson’s reign as Manager.

In the past two years Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have joined the illustrious centurions club. 

Rooney, though, is set to become the youngest player to reach the landmark.

Overseeing that quartet of centuries as boss is something Hodgson is extremely proud of.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is 'burning to play' for England

“When Jari Litmanen got his 100th cap for Finland in a match in Saudi Arabia, I thought that would be the only time I would have the opportunity [to give a player his 100th appearance].

“So it has really been a pleasant surprise to get Ashley, Steven, Frank and now Wayne.

“It is quite incredible really, and I am very proud of it. It is a big honour, not as big an honour as getting the 100 caps, that is the massive honour, but I am the manager when those took place.”

Meanwhile, with 43 goals for England, Rooney is also just six goals short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s 44-year record haul.

However, Hodgson believes that the former Everton forward simply wants to represent his country as many times as he can, regardless of personal accolades.

“I have to say, once you get to 100 caps, records are records, they’re going to be broken one day - records are there to be broken.

“I’m not certain Wayne Rooney is a person who goes to bed at night dreaming of a record, or beating Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record, or beating Peter Shilton’s number of caps.”

He added: “I don’t believe he does that. I believe he just wants to keep playing and do the best job he can for England for as long as possible.”

Tickets for England v Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday 15 November are still available. Visit www.TheFA.com/tickets to buy online.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor