By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Sentenced to a two-match ban, Manchester United's Rooney was forced to sit out England's opening group game as his team-mates grinded out a 1-1 draw with France. Although Hodgson was satisfied with the performances of Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe during the match, he looks forward to having the former Everton striker back in the fold.
"Danny Welbeck was very good against France, wasn't he? I think he deserved to start the game. but I like Andy Carroll, too. His performance in Oslo made a big impression on me and I wouldn't hesitate to play him, just as I wouldn't hesitate to play Jermain Defoe," Hodgson shared with the Mirror.
"And our real ace in the hole, I think, should be Wayne Rooney. He is very fit and he's raring to go. He really can't wait to get on the field. And if he can get on the field and can play like Wayne Rooney, then we're going to be a bit more difficult to beat for some of these teams."
England captain Steven Gerrard revealed that Rooney is keen to make amends for his absence in the squad's first two games, and the Liverpool midfielder believes the striker's desire could fire the Three Lions into the knock-out stages of the tournament.
"Wayne feels fine. He's frustrated at the fact that he can't play until the final [group] game and I know he's regretting doing what he did against Montenegro, but he's coping well and he's itching to get out there and play himself, to show what he can do for us," Gerrard stated.
We're hoping we can be in with a good chance of qualifying when he comes back. He can be the difference for us in that third game to get us into the latter stages of this competition."
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