Rooney praises ‘great character’

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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Wayne Rooney and his England team-mates were upset by the sloppy, uninspired way they started in Italy on Tuesday night.

Nine months on from meeting at the World Cup, the Three Lions faced the Azzurri once more in a glamour friendly at the Juventus Stadium.

Hopes were high after seven straight wins but Roy Hodgson’s men struggled in the first half, deservedly falling behind to a Graziano Pelle header in Turin.

However, half-time brought with it renewed enthusiasm and England dominated the second period, levelling in style through Andros Townsend and going close to turning a 1-1 into an away triumph.

“We have (moved on from the World Cup) and I think that’s why we were so disappointed with the first half,” England skipper Rooney said.

“We know we’re better than that. Even though we had a lot of changes, we know we are a better team than what we showed first half.

“We were upset, I’ll be honest, in the dressing room after the first half. Everyone was upset with the way we performed.

“It showed great character from everyone to go out in the second half to put in the performance we did, to get back in the game and were unlucky not to go on and win it.

“Italy are a great team and I think one of their biggest strengths is seeing the game out.

“We worked hard, we pushed the ball well, showed a lot of composure on the ball and created chances.

“On another night we might have scored another goal, but I think overall probably a draw for both teams was a fair result in the way the game went.”

Things certainly ended positively for England, with Rooney dovetailing well with full debutant Harry Kane as Hodgson’s second-half introductions stated their case.

Ross Barkley was one of the stand-out performers, with the second-half substitute showing flashes of the form which impressed so many last summer.

“Ross is a terrific player,” Rooney said. “He is a terrific young player and I think he can have an impact when he comes on.

“He did that, he took the ball, he ran at the Italian defenders and made it difficult for them.

“Hopefully, he can kick on now for the rest of the season.”

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015 by The News Editor

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