Hodgson heaps praise on Rooney

The Manchester United forward was not always first choice at Old Trafford last season but the Three Lions boss says he will always be a regular starter in the international set-up
England manager Roy Hodgson has reassured Wayne Rooney that he will always warrant a place in his starting line-up, despite a problematic domestic campaign with Manchester United.

The 27-year-old has not enjoyed his best season domestically and has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after falling behind Robin van Persie in the Red Devils' pecking order.

Hodgson, however, insists the former Everton striker will always be one of the first names on his teamsheet after scoring in England's 2-2 draw with Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

"I have a much smaller group of players and much less choice," the England boss told reporters. "I have always thought Wayne Rooney fit and desirous of playing like he was against Brazil with his work-rate, not to mention his technical ability which was every bit as good as anyone out there.

"I just see a good player. But of course in club football a number of other factors come into play. As far as I am concerned he has never let me down. He has not always played as brilliantly as he did against Brazil but he is a human being.

"With football players, you put them on the pitch hoping you are going to see what I saw against Brazil."

Rooney has grown accustomed to playing in behind the team's main striker but returned to form in a lone centre-forward role against Brazil.

"He had an exceptionally good game and if we’re going to play with a more or less lone centre-forward he is in the position to do it," continued Hodgson.

"Sometimes we are going to need more help for him. We got Theo Walcott behind the defence a few times. Theo was eyeball to eyeball with the goalkeeper and with his striking power you expect him to score."