Rooney substitution was planned from start - Hodgson

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The Three Lions boss suggested that withdrawing the striker was always in the offing, as the coaching staff looked to protect players from injuries

England manager Roy Hodgson planned to substitute captain Wayne Rooney from the start of the Three Lions' 6-0 win over San Marino on Saturday, despite the striker equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's Three Lions goalscoring record.

Hodgson's side became the first in Europe to qualify for Euro 2016, ensuring their place in France with three games to spare, ahead of Tuesday's match with Switzerland.

Rooney went into the game knowing that two goals would take him ahead of Charlton's scoring record but, after netting a first-half penalty to equal the World Cup winner, the England captain was withdrawn close to the hour mark.

And manager Hodgson later insisted that the substitution was always in his plans, aiming to give Harry Kane another appearance in an England shirt.

"We wanted to protect one or two players a few didn’t start it was in our thoughts all along we’d keep Wayne on for an hour," the England boss told ITV Sport.

"Harry Kane needed some football so it was the perfect situation really where we got to rest some important players for Tuesday.

Hodgson also singled out Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for individual prase, suggesting that the 23-year-old could occupy a number of positions in the side.

"Jonjo [Shelvey] deserves a mention to play almost as faultlessly as he did on that pitch deserves credit," he added.

"I think that [the position behind the central striker] could be his main role going forward, we play with three mainly in there and even the ones to the right and left he could do that too.

"But we’ve got two very good passing players in the central position and when Jack [Wilshere] comes back competition will be even greater."

With qualification now secured, Hodgson has hinted that the remaining Euro 2016 qualifying matches could be used to experiment with different positions and systems.

"I think now we are beginning to find that time to adapt. Going into the last two tournaments it wasn’t evident we could change systems. We had to get organised with the system we wanted," the England manager continued.

"But especially with the type of players coming in now I think there is a lot of possibilities there.

"Today we could’ve moved Jonjo or Ross Barkley up. The options are there but sometimes changes confuse more people than you’d like."

Hodgson did find one source of ire, however, complaining that the San Marino pitch was poor.

"Today’s game wasn’t easy in the sense that the pitch was poor and it was important to maintain our discipline because we know we’re a much better team and should win the game and didn’t want anything to happen that would mean we take a step back before Tuesday," he continued.

"I’m happy to win by a big margin and qualify whatever happens on Tuesday."

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