Rooney: Europe must take notice

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Wayne Rooney believes England sent a message to the rest of Europe by extending their winning run to seven matches on Friday night.

England maintained a six-point lead at the top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group with a 4-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley.

Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Raheem Sterling and super sub Harry Kane found the net on his debut to make it five wins from five for Roy Hodgson’s team in Group E.

After friendly victories against Scotland and Norway, England have won all seven matches in total since their disappointing World Cup campaign.

The last time they won seven a row was in 2006 and Rooney thinks the rest of Europe will be taking note of the team’s resurgence after the debacle in Brazil.

”I’m happy we won the game, it’s a big three points in the qualifying campaign,” the England captain told ITV.

”Since the World Cup we’ve been fantastic, some great victories, we’ve been scoring goals and it’s a really energetic team. A lot of teams around Europe will be looking at this team and taking notice.”

Rooney’s sixth-minute goal moved him on to 47 England goals – just two short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record, which has stood for 45 years.

The England striker was happy to edge closer to the record, but he knew he could have equalled it had he not struck the woodwork twice in the first 19 minutes.

Rooney struck a post in the fourth minute after being played through by Fabian Delph and after nodding in the opener, he then hit the frame of the goal with a header from Welbeck’s cross.

Rooney added: ”I was a bit disappointed with the first one that hit the post, I thought I got a shove, and the second I’ve had to go far corner and unfortunately it’s hit the post.”

The victory came at a cost as Welbeck suffered a knee injury that could rule him out of Tuesday’s friendly against Italy in Turin.

“It all went right apart from Welbeck’s injury towards the end of the game which has soured it a bit,” Hodgson said.

“We hope it’s not serious, but it’ll probably keep him out of Tuesday, which is a disappointment particularly as we’d already lost Daniel Sturridge (through injury on Monday).

“Welbeck has had a tweak to the knee, when he dived with the goalkeeper.

“We were planning to take him off anyway. He’s being assessed by the medical staff, but we won’t get a proper idea until tomorrow (Saturday).

“The medical staff gave me the impression they’re not terribly worried about it, but that Tuesday may be too soon. But we’ll see.”

If man of the match Welbeck withdraws it will increase the chances of Kane starting his first international at the Juventus Stadium next week.

Sterling, Leighton Baines and James Milner are to be released from the squad and will not travel to Italy.

Liverpool forward Sterling has a toe injury, Manchester City’s Milner is carrying a knee problem and Baines will also return to his club Everton.

“I’d already agreed with Liverpool and (manager) Brendan Rodgers that Raheem Sterling would get the injection in his foot now after the game,” Hodgson said.

“He’s been playing through a situation, getting himself ready each week to get on the field of play.

“He did it again tonight, which is terrific. But he doesn’t need to continue those shows of bravery. It’s important he gets it put right for us and Liverpool. They think this injection will help him get through the rest of the season and join us and beat Slovenia (in June).

“It was always my intention to play Leighton Baines in this game and give Kieran Gibbs a game in the second game so he won’t be there.

“And James Milner who has a knee problem which he’s been playing through.

“He made himself available in case we needed him, but we don’t think we can risk him on Tuesday. He’ll go back for a scan and some treatment to be fit for City.”

Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand will join up with the squad on Saturday, leaving Hodgson with 21 players for the match in the country where he enjoyed spells with Inter Milan and Udinese.

“We’ll be short of a few players for a game that means a lot to us and to me,” he said.

“But I’m delighted with tonight’s performance and for Harry Kane.”

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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