England`s Hodgson backing Rooney and Sturridge to click

Last Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014 - 08:32

London: England manager Roy Hodgson expected strikers Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge to have little problem clicking despite a lack of playing time together, he said ahead of Friday`s World Cup warm-up match against Peru.

Liverpool`s Sturridge and Manchester United`s Rooney were the highest-scoring English players in the Premier League last season with a combined 38 goals and are expectex to lead the line in Brazil where England face Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in Group D.

Injuries to Rooney and Sturridge`s recent rise to prominence means the duo have had limited opportunities to play together for England, a fact that did not concern Hodgson.

"Don`t think we`ve had the opportunity to see the two of them together as many times as we`d like as quite often one or the other of them has been injured," Hodgson told reporters at England`s St George’s Park training base on Thursday.

"It`s one of many potential combinations. What I can say is they are two excellent players, two first class players, and I`ve always been of the belief that when you`ve got first class players who really don`t have any particular weaknesses, there is no reason why they can`t play together.

"I sometimes think we complicate things by suggesting that two good players can`t play together because there are some similarities, I don`t really subscribe to that."

Rooney failed to impress at Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but Hodgson said the 28-year-old, who battled a groin injury towards the end of United`s disappointing season, had returned from a short break looking fit and fresh.

"He obviously worked very hard there because from the very first minute he`s been running around and looking very fit and lively, as one would expect him to be, so I`ve got to say the past is the past," Hodgson told a news conference.

"It`s the present and the future that really interests me and... at the moment I`m very happy with my present and future with Wayne Rooney."

Hodgson said the spirit among the group was positive and, having begun work on the tactical aspects of England`s game, he was hopeful the momentum would continue over the coming weeks.

"It sounds a bit banal to say it, but the bottom line is that it has been a very impressive training session, and if I could bottle what I`m seeing at the moment and release it on the 14th (of June against Italy in Manaus) I`d be a happy man."

Hodgson`s only concern was the health of Southampton left back Luke Shaw, who has a cold and did not train on Thursday.

The match against Peru at Wembley is England`s last at home before they leave to play friendlies against fellow World Cup qualifiers Ecuador and Honduras in Miami but Hodgson said they had not given Friday`s opponents that much thought.

"It`s a little bit strange this game, but we`ve done so much focusing on so many things we wanted to establish, that this match suddenly seems to have come out of nowhere," the 66-year-old said of theg ame against a side ranked 42nd in the world.

"Normally in an England team you spend all your time preparing for this opponent, you talk a lot about the opponent, you talk a lot about how you are going to play against this opponent. I must admit on this occasion our work has been much more focused on June 14.

"But it`s a game we`re really looking forward to and we`re going to take very seriously. We`re all desperate to leave England having left behind a very good impression with our fans."


First Published: Friday, May 30, 2014 - 10:11

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