Wayne Rooney insists all of England’s players supported Roy Hodgson for the entirety of Euro 2016, despite reports to the contrary after their 2-1 defeat to Iceland on Monday night.
Following the game, Hodgson resigned and the fall-out from such a disappointing result began. This included speculation suggesting many of the senior players in England’s squad had lost faith in Hodgson’s team selection with Raheem Sterling starting against Iceland even though his form throughout the tournament was poor.
Rooney, another player who struggled against Iceland, was quick to jump to his former manager’s defence and backed the 68-year-old in what he referred to as untrue media reports.
“In response to recent media reports, I’d like to say that is completely untrue,” Rooney said.
“On behalf of the players, we completely supported the England manager but we understand his reasons for stepping down.
“We had absolute faith in the build-up and throughout the tournament.”
England’s surprise elimination from the tournament was one thing but the docile nature of their effort to beat Iceland was particularly upsetting to many English fans. As the blame game started, everything from Hodgson’s tactics, or lack thereof, the players’ temperament and the Premier League’s reliance on foreign players were under the kosh.
It is widely considered one of the most exciting set of attacking players that England have had in years and their failure to break down Iceland has left plenty of questions to be asked. Rooney was deployed in deep midfield in an attempt to utilise his creativity and eye for a pass but failed to add anything and too many times England were left looking at one another in the final third with no idea of what the plan was.
Marcus Rashford was introduced late in the game and started to make inroads down the left but was only given four minutes to bring back a 2-1 deficit. With so much pace and goal-scoring ability in the team, England were expected to do better but Rooney’s defence of Hodgson suggests it was not the former manager who was solely to blame for this not being the case.