herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

ROONEY: now we work

England captain looks to Swiss challenge

Captain Wayne Rooney admits the hard work for England starts again now as they step up preparations for next week's opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Switzerland.

Roy Hodgson's young side - with five of the starting XI under 22 - laboured through a 1-0 victory over Norway at a half-empty Wembley on Thursday night as England began life after their World Cup disaster.

Much was made of the lacklustre performance, which only generated two shots of target, one being Rooney's 68th minute penalty.

However, the Manchester United forward, who took the armband for the first time following Steven Gerrard's international retirement, wants focus to quickly turn to the Group E clash at St Jakob-Park in Basel on Monday night.

"It was important to get the victory, but now we have to move on from here," said Rooney.

"There are four days before Switzerland and hopefully we can come back from there with a positive result.

"We know we have to be better against the Swiss if we are going to get the victory there.

"We will work hard now and be ready, hopefully we can come back with a victory."

RECORD LOW

The friendly against Norway attracted a record low attendance of 40,181, the smallest number to watch an England match at Wembley since it was re-built.

Rooney accepts starting out on the new journey just some 10 weeks on from exiting in Brazil at the group stage was always going to be a difficult step on and off the field.

"We are grateful for the fans who were at Wembley to support us," said Rooney, now fourth on the all-time England international scorer list with 41.

"We understand that after the World Cup, it is difficult for everyone, the players and the fans, so we have to make sure we do well in the Euro 2016 qualification campaign to make those fans believe again and hopefully we can do that on Monday night."

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling was man of the match against Norway.

Rooney, 28, is confident all the younger members of the squad can follow his example and step up to the challenges ahead.

"If you look at the squad, you can see the players who are doing really well with their teams in the Premier League, you have Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshere and (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain are all doing great," he said.

"Going to the World Cup and being part of that, feeling what they did, seeing how it was out there can only give them experience in international football for future tournaments. they will learn from that.

"We know we have a young team, but all of us have to stand up and make sure that we can give ourselves a great chance of qualifying for 2016."

WARM DOWN

England trained at St George's Park yesterday, with those who played some part against Norway performing a warm down while the others of the squad did some field sessions as Hodgson turn his attentions towards tackling the Swiss, whom he guided to the finals of Euro 96.

Hodgson made some tactical changes after the goal, and insists England have plenty of 'weapons' should they need to be called upon over the next 18 months.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News