Hodgson & Rooney: England are ready for Euro 2016 opener

Thursday 09 Jun 2016
Wayne Rooney and Roy Hodgson speak to the media at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille

With 24 hours left until England take on Russia, Roy Hodgson and Wayne Rooney are in agreement that the Three Lions are ready for Euro 2016.

Hodgson's men have been in France since Monday and together as a squad for more than three weeks, and both manager and captain are confident that they're well-prepared for this summer's finals.

England v Russia

UEFA Euro 2016 Group B
8pm (BST), Saturday 11 June
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Live on ITV



Speaking at England's official pre-match press conference at the Stade Velodrome, Hodgson said: "We’ve had a good week’s training and we think we’re ready. 

"I’m really pleased that, having gone through quite an intensive preparation period with three matches and quite a lot of training sessions, we still have all 23 players fit and ready for selection.

"The players have certainly prepared extremely well for this tournament, so I can’t ask any more of them. All I can do is to keep trying to guide them along the way and hope that they succeed as well as they would like to."

Rooney, who is preparing to lead England into a tournament as captain for the first time, echoed his coach's thoughts.

"We’ve prepared well," said the 30 year-old. 

"The players have been excited by the tournament and it’ll finally be here tomorrow night, and we’re just looking forward to it. We know the preparations have been perfect with no injuries, which is important in tournament football, so we’re ready and excited for tomorrow night."


Watch the key moments from England's pre-match press conference


Having his whole squad available for the opening game means Hodgson could have some tough decisions to make when it comes to picking his starting XI in the Velodrome – a problem he welcomes.

He said: "I think there is definitely a selection headache in terms of so many good players who could quite easily command a place in the team.

"I don’t know if I’m alone in that situation. I think quite a few teams in the tournament have a strong squad and their managers too will have selection headaches, but I’m pleased with the one that I have."

England have not won their opening game at a tournament since the 2006 World Cup, and Rooney says changing that sequence could be key to success this summer.

"We know how important the first game is – it cost us two years ago," said the Manchester United man, referencing the Three Lions' World Cup-opening loss to Italy in 2014. 

"It’s important to get off to a good start – we know that and we’ve talked about that as a group of players. 

"It’s an exciting time and you can feel the buzz around the place. Everyone’s excited for this game so it’s important that we take our performance levels into this game in order to get off to a good start."

By Jim Lucas at the Stade Velodrome, Marseille