England captain Wayne Rooney urges fans to keep the faith

Monday 27 Jun 2016
England's Wayne Rooney applauds the fans

Wayne Rooney urged England fans to keep faith with the country's young players following the national team's exit from Euro 2016.

The Three Lions lost 2-1 to Iceland as their hopes of progressing in the tournament were ended at the last 16 stage in Nice.

Following the defeat, Roy Hodgson announced he would be stepping down as England manager with immediate effect, but despite the disappointment, Rooney has pleaded with the nation to get behind the players. 

England 1-2 Iceland

UEFA Euro 2016
Round of 16
Monday 27 June 2016
Stade de Nice, France
Live on ITV

England's squad had an average age of 25 years and 10 months and included the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Marcus Rashford - all of whom were making their first appearance in a major tournament.

And speaking in the aftermath of Hodgson's exit, Rooney said: "It’s sad, he's [Hodgson] brought a lot of young players through. I think the future is bright for England. 

"Unfortunately it hasn’t happened in this tournament but hopefully in the future there are good things to come and although it’s difficult to say and to see that now, I think Roy has been good to the players and we thank him."

England went ahead in the fourth minute when Rooney converted a penalty after Raheem Sterling had been fouled in the box.

But Iceland equalised less than two minutes later when Ragnar Sigurdsson bundled the ball home from close range after England failed to deal with a long throw-in.

And the Three Lions were left stunned when Joe Hart failed to stop Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's shot slipping through his grasp.

Rooney said: "We’re disappointed, sad, gutted after getting such a good start. We were disappointed we went in at half time 2-1 down with the manner we conceded the goals - we knew they were a threat from long throws. 

Wayne Rooney celebrates his penalty against Iceland

Rooney scored from the spot against Iceland, but there was little else for England to celebrate in Nice

"We didn’t defend the second goal well enough but we were confident at half time we could still win the game. We pushed but Iceland defended well, they were organised and made it tough for us and in the final third we didn’t have that bit of brilliance to get us the goal."

England controlled 68 per cent of the possession but despite having 18 shots on goal only four of those were on target and the team's superb travelling support were once again left frustrated.

And Rooney was quick to praise the travelling supporters who have followed the team around France. He said: "The fans have been great out here and supported the players and team really well. We’re grateful and we thank them for that. 

"We understand they’re disappointed and angry because what they’ve seen tonight wasn’t good enough and it’s embarrassing to go out but that’s football. We tried, we gave everything and unfortunately it wasn’t enough."

Rooney also confirmed he has no intention of calling time on his international career after earning his 115th cap in the defeat to Iceland. He added: "I’ve said many times I enjoy and am proud to play for England and am interested to see who the next manager is and if selected then I’ll certainly be there."

By FA Staff