Hodgson: It would be wrong to pin World Cup hopes on Wayne Rooney
Roy Hodgson has called for England’s World Cup hopes not to be pinned on Wayne Rooney alone after the striker was named in his squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Rooney has failed to fire on all cylinders at major tournaments since breaking onto the international scene at the 2004 European Championships, having been sent-off after colliding with Cristiano Ronaldo during the 2006 World Cup exit to Portugal, swearing at the camera in 2010 when fans booed England’s performance and picking up a suspension in 2012 that saw him miss the majority of the Three Lions’ fixtures.
But the Manchester United forward has shown signs this season that he is enjoying his football once again, and will head to Brazil with 19 goals under his belt for his club this season. If England are to have any hope of featuring in the latter stages of the competition, they will need Rooney to be at his best, but Hodgson has claimed it would be “wrong” to put such a burden on one player alone.
Speaking at his World Cup squad announcement at Vauxhall in Luton, Hodgson said: “I think it's very wrong to put the footballing hopes of a nation on the shoulders of one man.
“The four forwards we've selected are very interesting and don't forget that we've got players in that midfield who can score goals.
“Time will tell and my words won't win us any games.”
One of the three striker that will accompany Rooney to Brazil is Southampton’s Rickie Lambert, after the 32-year-old edged out West Ham’s Andy Carroll to secure his first ticket to the World Cup.
Hodgson admitted that it was a nice dilemma to have two strikers in consideration for the right reason, and that while he was “delighted” to see Carroll back and in-form, he had to stick with Lambert.
“Rickie Lambert has been with us all throughout the qualifying campaign and I'm delighted to see Andy back in form,” added Hodgson. “It wasn't an easy decision to make but in the end I plumped for Rickie Lambert.”
Hodgson will look to Rooney and Lambert, who could provide an alternative strike-partnership to the expected combination of the United striker and Daniel Sturridge, and also Danny Welbeck to provide the goals for his side that have proven hard to come by in recent tournaments.
28-year-old Rooney has never scored in the World Cup having failed to find the back of the net in Germany in 2006, and four years ago in South Africa where England crashed out to rivals Germany in the last-16.