The striker assisted Daniel Sturridge's goal but looked
otherwise out of sorts on the left, and then right, of a
front four - missing a golden chance to earn England a
England manager Roy Hodgson has launched a staunch
defence of Wayne Rooney’s performance during his side’s
defeat to Italy in their World Cup opener.
The Manchester United star provided the assist for Daniel
Sturridge’s equaliser but was otherwise out of sorts
stationed out on the left wing and missed a golden chance to
earn England a point when he dragged his shot from 12 yards
Rooney has now gone nine World Cup matches without
scoring a goal but Hodgson insists he still has a vital part to
play ahead of a must-win encounter against Uruguay on
"I think it's very harsh to say he didn't look comfortable on
the left," Hodgson told the BBC when it was suggested
Rooney struggled on the wing.
"I thought he actually did very well and set up our goal with a
fine piece of play. We know we can play Wayne in many
different positions and I think he has to be pretty satisfied
with his performance.
"It's looking for things to suggest he didn't do well in that
position because I think he did."
Hodgson stressed England were unlucky to end the game
empty-handed, and praised the efforts of his other
attacking talents Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and
youngster Raheem Sterling.
He continued: "Raheem Sterling was very, very dangerous
throughout the game. The front players in the first half;
Sturridge I thought was excellent right the way through.
"Welbeck had some very good moments and Steven Gerrard
and Jordan Henderson did exactly what I expected of them.
"It's a bit tough at the moment to accept we've lost the
game because, especially in the second half, there were so
few shots on our goal. Joe Hart has had a pretty quiet
evening really and yet in the end we find ourselves having
"We know we played against a good team, we know Italy will
be there or thereabouts so to take them so close gives us
great confidence that going forward we can do well against
Uruguay and Costa Rica and still progress in the tournament.
England now face a Uruguay side who also lost their opening
group game - a 3-1 reverse to Costa Rica - but Hodgson has
backed his players to take heart from their performance
heading into Thursday's clash.
"We are a bit down-hearted and sad the game didn't go our
way. We were hoping for a perfect start. I've got great
confidence we can do well enough in the next two games to
qualify," he concluded.