'Reckless would be kind', says Hodgson on challenge that hospitalised Walcott

With the expected three points in the bag, the England boss says the only dampener on the evening was the injury to his winger after a heavy challenge from the San Marino keeper
England manager Roy Hodgson has slammed the "very fierce challenge" which ended Theo Walcott's night just six minutes into the World Cup qualifier with San Marino.

Walcott collided with goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini, suffering suspected broken ribs. The Arsenal winger will spend the night in hospital, before being assessed ahead of Tuesday's game with Poland.

"I think if I were to describe it was reckless I would be being kind," Hodgson told reporters. "It was a very fierce challenge.

"I think the goalkeeper, although I don't believe for one minute there was any malice in it when he went for the ball, irrespective of that it was a very bad challenge and it's put Walcott in hospital we have to wait now and find out the extent of his injury.

"And really and truly when your goalkeeper does that I think you are very lucky to a) have him still on the field, and b) not have a penalty given against him.

"Theo will now be in hospital overnight. It's a chest injury, and obviously didn't look too good but until such time as they've x-rayed it and scanned it we really don’t know.

Although the incident put a dampener on the routine victory for the Three Lions, Hodgson insisted he was happy with the win and was keen to look at the positives, both at Wembley and elsewhere tonight.

Hodgson added: "Well yes I am [happy]. It was attack versus defence really, wasn't it? Usually when you do attack versus defence in practice you don't put seven or eight players in the penalty box all of the time, only occasionally.

"But I thought the way we approached the game from the first minute to the last was terrific, we were patient, I thought we probed, we created chances on a regular basis throughout the 90 minutes, we were good value for our five goals.

"There could have been a lot more goals but certainly there was an awful lot of goal mouth action, a lot of passing, a lot of quality passing throughout the course of the game.

"Also, there were almost 85,000 people, which I thought that was quite fantastic. So that's two extremely positive aspects of the evening.

"I suppose the third positive aspect of the evening happened in Moldova as Ukraine could only succeed in drawing and not winning there as most people expected them to do which of course means that our three points here and our three points in Moldova weigh that bit more heavy."

In the absence of regular captain Steven Gerrard, Hodgson was delighted with the input of the stand-in captain Wayne Rooney, who moved to fifth position in the list of England's all-time goalscorers with his double.

"I don't know if he's 26 or 27, but I do know he's still got years of football left in him if he continues and continues to play the way he is playing at the moment," Hodgson continued.

"I thought all the Manchester United players played with enormous confidence, the interplay between them throughout and of course they were responsible for four of the five goals and Tom Cleverley set up Oxlade-Chamberlain for the fifth.

"I had no doubt Rooney would be a good captain, there was never any question in my mind that he would captain the team well but I'm looking forward to seeing Steven Gerrard back in the team on Tuesday.

"We still have some hope that Frank Lampard's injury is not that serious so that he will also have a possibility of joining us there.

"And of course quite a few other players who didn't start the game today which means we go to Poland with a good squad, a strong squad, a squad which contains some players that will be quite fresh that didn't play today.

"The one negative, as you rightly say, was Theo. That was a bad injury."