Players respect Hodgson – Rooney

Wayne Rooney

England captain Wayne Rooney says that the players “respected” manager Roy Hodgson’s decision to make six changes for Monday’s 0-0 draw with Slovakia.

There were reports that Rooney, who came on as a second-half substitute, was surprised at being left out.

He also denied suggestions that other members of the squad were unhappy.

“I respect Roy’s decision. As a player you want to play but going into the last-16 game against Iceland I will be a lot fresher,” said Rooney.

“I think it’s a decision that Roy had to make in terms of keeping players fresh and believing in the squad he has got. I agree with it.

“The players that came in were good enough to win the game but you have to give credit to the opposition because they defended very well.”

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The Manchester United man, leading England at a major tournament for the first time, will be winning his 115th cap on Monday, equalling David Beckham’s record for an outfield player.

“I’ve said many times that it is a huge honour to captain my country and something I try and do to the best of my ability and with a lot of pride,” Rooney added.

“It’s not my job to tell the players what to do, they know what is expected of them and they’ve been great. We’re a happy camp at the moment.”

England drew with Russia and Slovakia either side of needing a last-minute winner against Wales and former England captain Alan Shearer says no teams will be scared of playing them in the knockout stages.

However, Rooney thinks they will benefit from their first three results and can still win the tournament.

“In my eyes the group games have been good because we could have got false hope if we’d won all of them 2-0 or 3-0,” he said. “We know we have to play better and take our chances.

“We’re confident and we believe we can go to the end of this competition. If we play our best we can give anyone a game and win.”

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