Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney receives criticism even when he is playing well but still takes responsibility, according to England manager Roy Hodgson.
Having been shifted from a striking role into midfield for club and country after question were raised about whether he should even be picked for the national team, The England captain was impressive for Hodgson’s men on Saturday, as England drew 1-1 against Russia in their Euro 2016 opener.
Hodgson told Sport Bild: “Wayne stormed into the spotlight as a young player. He was instantly made the saviour of English football. Sadly, people have been seeing the negative things in him since then. He draws criticism despite good performances.
“He’s my extension on the pitch. He wanted to take on the task, and carry all the weight.”
Hodgson defended his decision to keep Rooney as captain for this tournament despite the doubts surrounding the player’s place and said that it is a role he has thrived in from the start.
The United player was appointed as captain by Hodgson in August 2014 after former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard’s retirement following a disappointing World Cup campaign in which England were eliminated in the group stage.
The England manager said: “Things went really well from the beginning. To choose him was not extraordinary. It was rather a question he had to pose himself: ‘Are you prepared to take on responsibility?’ As an Englishman, you’re aware that the national team is in the spotlight here.”
Hodgson added that he is impressed by the German model, in terms of style and promotion of youth. He is hoping that England can emulate them but believes that there continues to be too many foreign players in the domestic game.
He said: “I hope so [that England can win a major tournament]. But, in football, a development takes time. You just have to look at Germany.
“They overhauled their youth system after the elimination at Euro 2000. We were able to see the result in Brazil [World Cup 2014]. Germany won the title. I like their style of play. I am impressed how many young players have grown into a unit and also with the talent pool Germany has.
“We have several good players in England. But we also have one problem. Too many foreign footballers and stars play here. It becomes a problem when the English don’t play regularly at their clubs. It’s more problematic here than in other countries.”