Rooney was 'fit' for Euros says Hodgson


Soccer:England boss Roy Hodgson has denied the Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney was not fit enough to do himself justice in Euro 2012.

Hodgson never wavered in his belief the 26-year-old would be a key figure in his plans, even though Rooney was condemned to miss the first two group games as he served a two-match ban following his red card against Montenegro last October.

Hodgson even gave Rooney additional time off prior to the tournament in order to recover from a minor injury he had carried through the last weeks of United’s Barclays Premier League title challenge.

In the end though, Rooney failed to do himself justice.

“We put a lot of expectations on him,” said Hodgson. “When he missed the first two games we were all believing that what we needed to do was get to the third game and Wayne Rooney will win us the championships.

“That maybe was too much to ask of him. He certainly tried very hard, but he didn’t have his best game. I think he would admit that. In a team of few superstars, Rooney’s performances at club level have highlighted him as world class.

Yet he had not been able to reproduce those performances on an international stage and, on the tournament arena, has not come close to matching that startling introduction at Euro 2004.

“In all top international teams, you’re looking at one, two, possibly three individuals that everyone recognises as being exceptional world-class talents,” said Hodgson.

“When you get to the big stage, you’re hoping those players perform and show they’re world-class talents — the Maradonas that win Argentina a World Cup with his performance.”

Question marks have been raised over the wisdom of Rooney’s post-season trip to Las Vegas, where he was pictured in a casino with former United team-mate Wes Brown.

But Hodgson insisted fitness was never an issue.

“We haven’t noticed anything with his fitness levels,” said Hodgson. “We’ve monitored his fitness levels and his running stats were very good. In the first game he didn’t show any particular signs of lacking any fitness and he played the 120 minutes on Sunday.

“Maybe you thought he could have played better but it’s not necessarily related to this. That was the classic Italian trick. Every time an Italian team loses a game, you hear they’re not fit. You can put a lot of things down to fitness, but there was no reason for us to doubt his fitness.”

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