Hodgson defends Rooney substitution

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England manager Roy Hodgson defended his decision to substitute captain Wayne Rooney after the Three Lions conceded a last-gasp equaliser which resulted in a 1-1 draw with Russia in their opening UEFA EURO 2016 group stage match.

Rooney, who impressed in midfield, was substituted on the 78th minute with England 1-0 up before Russia defender Vasili Berezutski’s looping header gave his side the equaliser.

But Hodgson, who praised the Manchester United star’s performance, defended his decision to replace his captain with Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.

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“I thought he (Rooney) had a good game, but was tiring,” he said.

“Quite a lot of players out there were tiring because, although it wasn’t baking hot, there was quite a humid atmosphere which saps the strength of the players.

“We just thought, with the control we had in the game and Wilshere on the bench, we could have the luxury of taking Wayne off the field and that Jack would do a similar job. I think that’s exactly what happened.

“Always afterwards you can look and think ‘Could we have used more subs? Could we have done a bit more?’ But we didn’t honestly believe we were in great difficulties during that time and we thought we’d see the game out 1-0.

“If anything, we replaced Raheem Sterling, who had worked very hard, with James Milner with a view perhaps to seeing the game out, but were unlucky to concede the late goal.”

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