England display delights Hodgson

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England’s young players grew from boys into men on Tuesday night as Wayne Rooney fired them to victory in the Battle of Britain at Celtic Park.

Rooney became the third-highest scorer in England’s history after scoring his 45th and 46th goal.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also found the net in the 112th meeting of international football’s oldest rivals, which ended in a 3-1 victory to Hodgson’s team.

Rooney and Hodgson were worried the ferocious atmosphere inside Celtic Park might get to the inexperienced visitors, but instead they left east Glasgow revelling in a morale-boosting win over their oldest rivals.

“Yes, I’d agree with that,” Hodgson said when asked if his inexperienced players had become men.

“I’m not sure they needed to prove they were real men. I knew that.

“But it was a real goldfish bowl under the magnifying glass tonight, and it was good they stood up to it.”

Rooney inspired England to victory on his 100th appearance on Saturday against Slovenia and it was the same story in Scotland on Tuesday.

Just two minutes after the restart, Rooney headed past Craig Gordon to double England’s lead following Oxlade-Chamberlain’s opener, which he scored after a superb cross from Jack Wilshere.

And the England captain scored just after Andrew Robertson’s first international goal to seal the win for the Three Lions.

Rooney’s brace moved him above Jimmy Greaves in the all-time scoring charts.

He is now third and few would back against him reaching Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 49 goals by the end of the season.

Peter Shilton’s record of 125 England caps is also within reach and Hodgson has little doubt the player will achieve both milestones sooner rather than later.

“Records and milestones are important,” the England coach said.

“It must be nice for him to think he’ll see his name at the top of the list, and a record number of caps in his sight too.

“He must keep his fitness, but he won’t be the first one to retire from football.

“He did terrifically well tonight, but many players took responsibility out there.”

Rooney himself is not thinking too much about records at the moment.

He is just savouring his role in a morale-boosting win for England, who have now won six matches in a row.

“It is fantastic as a footballer to play in these games,” Rooney said.

“We knew it would be a big atmosphere and to be honest we expected to win the game.

“We are a better team and we showed that tonight. It was a fantastic victory against a Scotland team in good form. It’s a great win.

“I’m enjoying my football. I’ve always loved playing for England, I’m on a good run of goals and I hope that continues. If that means I break the record then I’ll be delighted.”

Rooney expertly nodded past Gordon after Scotland failed to clear a corner and he tucked away Adam Lallana’s cross to confirm England’s win.

After going through a difficult World Cup, Hodgson was happy to end the year on a high.

“To add a sixth victory is a good way to finish the year,” the England manager added.

“I can’t think of many periods in the game where I was concerned we were losing control, and some of the attacking movements were very good.

“Our defending was sharp and when we did lose the ball, we won it back quickly. You can’t ask for much more. We managed to quieten them and give our own fans something to cheer about.”

Hodgson said Luke Shaw and Danny Welbeck came off because they had groin and hamstring stiffness.

The England manager also revealed that he did not field Jordan Henderson because he was suffering with a hamstring problem.

Reacting to reports that Daniel Sturridge had suffered a fresh injury setback, Hodgson said of the Liverpool striker, who was left out of this squad: “Has he? That’s really bad news.

“The only positive for that is we don’t play again until March. That’s a massive blow for Liverpool. I hope, by (England’s next match in) March, he will be okay.”

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan admitted England scared the life out of his team, who struggled to deal with the intensity of the visitors’ play at times.

It was a bitter blow for Strachan, whose team went into the match on the back of a morale-boosting win over the Republic of Ireland on Friday.

He said: “The intensity, and pace England played it, without the ball in particular, was fantastic and it spooked our players a bit.

“I think my players were expecting England to sit back and wait, but they didn’t.

“They’re a team full of Champions League players, and they showed that. Maybe we were mentally fatigued from Friday, too, which we need to look at.”

Published: Wednesday 19th November 2014 by The News Editor

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