Hodgson says Rooney’s place is under pressure
Captain faces a fight to regain his England spot Kane happy he is now a marked man for Euros
Wayne Rooney faces a fight to win back his place in England’s team for the European Championship after Roy Hodgson admitted Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy had put pressure on the striker.
Kane and Vardy insisted that they could handle being marked men in France after grabbing Europe’s attention with stunning goals here to help England to a dramatic 3-2 victory over world champions Germany on Saturday night.
Rooney missed the game, and is also ruled out of tomorrow night’s friendly against Holland at Wembley with a knee injury, but England’s captain would have watched Kane and Vardy grab their chance with both hands.
Kane started against Germany and scored, while Vardy stepped off the bench to grab a goal and will start against the Dutch.
Rooney will be part of England’s Euro 2016 squad as long as he is fit, but Hodgson conceded that the record goalscorer was under pressure to get back in his side.
“When he [Rooney] comes back and is fit again, he is going to be putting enormous pressure on these players. Just as these players have been putting enormous pressure on him,” said Hodgson.
“Vardy came on and did well, Kane was excellent throughout the game. I will enjoy that for the minute. I’m pretty sure when Wayne is fit again, and comes back, then we will assess the situation.”
Hodgson has made it clear that Rooney will remain very much part of his plans and does not face being left out of his squad for the European Championship altogether.
“Wayne, I repeat, is our captain,” said Hodgson. “He has captained the team extremely well these past two years, taken us through a qualification campaign, where we had complete success, 10 wins out of 10, so it doesn’t please me too much when it is suggested the moment he gets injured and doesn’t play that he deserves to be jettisoned in some way. He certainly doesn’t deserve that.”
Kane believes Hodgson will relish having a selection headache over his strikers and agreed that Rooney still had an important role to play for his country.
“He [Hodgson] wants everyone on top form and applying themselves well, you want the best players to be on form come the Euros,” said Kane. “I am sure it is a problem he enjoys having.
“Wayne and Raheem [Sterling] are great players and I am sure they will be back in the squad. Everyone is fighting for places and it is what this country needs. It will only make us better players.
“Wayne is a fantastic player, he is our skipper and is a great person to have around, and Roy has made it clear he wants him involved. All I can do is keep working hard and give the manager a problem.”
Kane took his international tally to four goals, while Vardy netted for the first time for England and the pair realise they will now receive even more attention from Europe’s defenders.
Asked if he felt he could score against anybody in the world, Kane, the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals, said: “Definitely. You have to as a striker, in every game, believe in yourself and that if you get the opportunities, you put them away.
“I got my shots against Germany, hit the goal and everyone did the same. We had some good chances, and could have scored more. You need that belief, whoever you are Eye-catching: Jamie Vardy (centre) celebrates his first England goal playing against. Maybe I’ll be a marked man for England now. Again, that is football. If you want to be one of the top players in the world, you have to deal with that. I am happy for the challenge. I want to keep working hard, to keep getting better and better and to have more nights like this, more goals for England because they are special.”
Vardy has quickly adapted to the special attention he now receives at Leicester, having scored 19 Premier League goals, and is confident he can thrive on the international stage – having already been described as a “spectacular player” by Germany manager Joachim Löw.
“It just means that I have to go and work harder when I am on the training field and look at ways where I can still hurt opponents that, hopefully, they won’t think I will be able to do,” said Vardy. “So, it’s down to a lot of hard work now, which I am more than happy to keep doing.
“You come here [to play with England] and you have got the country’s best players, but the good thing about that is they can only make you good as a player and a person, so I work as hard as I can in training. If I can learn anything off these players I will try to and, hopefully, that will make me a better player as well.
“I think it’s good to have as much competition for places as possible, it makes everyone try as hard as possible – like you have seen in the Germany game.”
Asked whether he had been able to pause for thought about his incredible personal journey from non-League to international striker in the space of four years, Vardy added: “Yeah, every day when I get a bit of alone time.”