Hodgson: Rooney plays best as a No. 10

England manager Roy Hodgson bemoaned Wayne Rooney's absence from the start of Euro 2012 and stated that he will primarily employ him as a second striker.

Almost got his hat-trick...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff 

The Manchester United forward has been banned for two games after being sent off for a rash challenge on Montenegro's Miodrag Džudović in England's last qualifying game in October. It means that new manager Hodgson will have to find an alternative supply of goals for the opening games and he employed Andy Carroll and Ashley Young in his first game in charge against Norway on Saturday. 

But the former West Brom manager insisted that Rooney remains a key component of his plans. He revealed that he sees the 26-year-old as a second striker much in the manner that Sir Alex Ferguson utilises him. It would mean that the player may not get as many goals as other poachers in the tournament but Hodgson insists that it is not uncommon to find a striker playing a supporting role in the international game. 

"We all know Rooney is best in that position, as a No 10," Hodgson told the Daily Mail.

‘The fact that he is such a good player and can play in other positions, that's another matter. From my conversations with him, from all the games I've watched him play, I think he's extremely dangerous when he plays as a second striker.

‘Young did the same job for me tonight [Saturday]. When you play with two strikers, one of them is dropping deep. Every team in the world does that today.

"We don’t have him for the first two games of the Euros, and we might end up missing him. We might regret that. But it’s a temporary thing."

The new England coach was equally happy with the display provided by his makeshift attack as Young scored England's first goal nine minutes after the start. He is happy to have a "big man" in Liverpool striker Carroll and he believes that Young's pace complements Rooney's direct running and Carroll's aerial prowess quite well. 

"It's quite good sometimes if the bigger man is the one who comes deep and becomes the target in that space between midfield and their defenders, and your quick man is the one who is actually on the shoulders of the defenders," he agreed.

"The good thing is Ashley and Andy showed that they can do both. It was an impressive performance from the two of them."

However, Hodgson was not happy with the way the team lost possession in the middle and called on his side to be more focused in future games. 

"We have to get in between the lines a little bit better," said Hodgson

"The players may have been anxious to impress me, to show what they can do.

"I'm not prepared to consider that an issue at the moment. Obviously if it continues, and we keep losing the ball when we have good opportunities to play it forward, I might start getting worried.

"But we have the quality of players for that not to be an issue. You saw that in the first half with Gerrard and Parker there."

England are preparing for their final warm-up friendly against Belgium on Saturday and will then have over a week's rest before they face France in their opening game on June 11.



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