‘Pres­sure may get to Rooney’

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

London — Eng­land man­ager Roy Hodg­son hopes cap­tain Wayne Rooney does not be­come weighed down by the re­spon­si­bil­ity of wear­ing the arm­band, but ad­mits the pres­sure of the job could af­fect his per­for­mances.

The 29-year-old striker, who is ex­pected to win his 100th cap against Slove­nia on Satur­day, re­placed Steven Ger­rard as skip­per in Au­gust after the Liver­pool mid­fielder re­tired from in­ter­na­tional duty fol­low­ing Eng­land’s poor World Cup show­ing.

Rooney has made a promis­ing start in the job with Eng­land win­ning their first three Euro 2016 qual­i­fy­ing matches to top Group E by three points from Slove­nia, but Hodg­son warned it is too early to judge him as cap­tain.

“I worry that the re­spon­si­bil­ity is go­ing to weigh him down,” Hodg­son told re­porters.

“We do all we can, my­self and the coach­ing staff, to en­sure that won’t hap­pen with us.

“But it is all very well telling some­one to leave your prob­lems be­hind and don’t worry about them, to get on with your life; it is easy to say, but very hard to do some­times.

Rooney, who is clos­ing in on Peter Shilton’s record of 125 Eng­land ap­pear­ances, was also handed the cap­taincy at Manch­ester United fol­low­ing Louis van Gaal’s ar­rival as man­ager and Hodg­son is aware of the dif­fi­cul­ties the striker faces as he tries to jug­gle the two roles.

“At the mo­ment I think he’s cop­ing with it well but we’ll have to keep an eye on the sit­u­a­tion, as will Louis, to make sure it doesn’t weigh him down,” he said.

“I re­mem­ber mak­ing the point fairly re­cently that he’s re­ally taken on this job as cap­tain with enor­mous se­ri­ous­ness.

“He’s stud­ied and talked a lot with Steven Ger­rard. He spends a lot of time with the younger play­ers. ob­vi­ously, with me he’s very good.

“If there’s any­thing he thinks I should be made aware of, he makes me aware of it.”

Rooney is six goals be­hind Bobby Charl­ton’s Eng­land record of 49, but beat­ing that mark is not top of the striker’s agenda ac­cord­ing to Hodg­son.

“I’m not cer­tain Wayne Rooney is a per­son who goes to bed at night dream­ing of a record,” he said.

“I be­lieve he just wants to keep play­ing and do the best job he can for Eng­land for as long as pos­si­ble.” — Reuters

Wayne Rooney

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