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Saturday 3 December 2016

Roy Hodgson: Jack Wilshere will be an England star for years

England's Jack Wilshere applauds their fans at the end of the match
England's Jack Wilshere applauds their fans at the end of the match

Roy Hodgson tipped Jack Wilshere to be an England star for many years to come after he scored a stunning brace in Sunday's 3-2 win over Slovenia.

It took five years for Wilshere to break his duck with England, but on the evidence of his latest performance it was worth the wait.

Wilshere's first - which came after Milivoje Novakovic had put Slovenia ahead - was a fierce arrow into the far corner after a poor clearance.

The second was the pick of the pair. Jordan Henderson played the ball into Adam Lallana, who flicked the ball into Wilshere's path and he let fly with a fierce drive into the top right-hand corner.

Wilshere's season has - yet again - been marred by injury and off-the-field controversy, but Hodgson hopes he will enjoy a better campaign next year, which will aid England's Euro 2016 hopes no end.

"I'm very happy with Jack and the goals he's scored," the England manager said.

"In particular, I am happy with his performance. In the second half he was controlling that midfield, it was a performance we've seen from him for a while now.

"If we can keep him fit and he can get plenty of Premier League matches and international matches, at his young age we think we've got a good player going forward."

Although Wilshere's goals were the highlight of an exciting England performance, Wayne Rooney grabbed the headlines after he scored the winner which ensured England ended the season unbeaten for the first time in 24 years.

Nejc Pecnik stepped off the bench to score what he thought was an equaliser six minutes from time, but just two minutes later, shortly after receiving an elbow in the face from Bostjan Cesar, Rooney kept his nerve to capitalise on a mis-timed tackle from Bojan Jokic and slide the ball past Samir Handanovic.

The goal put Rooney level with Gary Lineker and just one goal shy of Sir Bobby Charlton's 49-goal record and his manager could not have been happier for him after the final whistle.

"Wayne Rooney's performance says a lot of things about him as a man," Hodgson said of his captain.

"Just before he took that chance he took a nasty blow from an elbow, which could have decked many a player and led to him losing his discipline. It didn't and he got up.

"He had one or two chances that had gone begging, but when the ball fell to him he still stuck it away with aplomb.

"We can rely on that man. I'd have liked him to get a hat-trick today so all the talk of the record would be finished, but he has plenty of time."

Reflecting on going the season unbeaten, Hodgson said: "It's a good achievement. That's not been done for over 20 years.

"The players deserve some credit for that."

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